Modern cotton candy was invented in 1897 by two men with two very different careers. According to National Geographic, it was created by dentist William Morrison and candy maker John C. Wharton. That’s right. A dentist is partly to thank for the fibrous pink indulgence. The duo developed and patented the first electric candy machine, which was essentially a perforated metal bowl with a spinning head filled with sugar.
Morrison and Wharton showcased their innovation at the St. Louis World’s Fair of 1904, which attracted around 20 million people over seven months. Cotton candy proved to be a huge hit. While they were in attendance, the men sold more than 68,000 servings of cotton candy to curious fairgoers. Initially marketed as “fairy floss,” their product was handed out to children and adults alike. Then, in the 1920s, the term “cotton candy” was coined by another dentist named Josef Lascaux, who sold the treat to his patients. Over the years, cotton candy has become its own flavor and has inspired various foods and beverages, including grapes, cocktails, ice cream, bubble gum, soda, and frappucinos.