Who knew?! Quite possibly, Nashville’s most famous invention is cotton candy. Ironically the sweet treat’s origins lie in a partnership between candy maker John C. Wharton and dentist William Morrison. The pair created a contraption with a heated spinning bowl yielding fluffy, sugary candy strands. The creation was originally dubbed Fairy Floss. Wharton and Morrison patented their candy making machine in 1897 and sold it to Nashville’s Electric Candy Machine Company. The machine is thought to have been invented at the corner of 3rd AVE North and Church Street and is awaiting placement of a historic marker.
Fairy Floss launched to popularity during the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. More than 68,000 orders of Fairy Floss were sold at the fair as well as the candy making machines themselves. In the 1920’s the name cotton candy gained popularity in Louisiana, again named by a dentist, and eventually replaced the moniker Fairy Floss.
A number of modern day Nashville restaurant menus give a nod to Nashville’s most famous invention. Kayne Prime steakhouse serves housemate bacon paired with maple cotton candy while Grey and Dudley serves a bowl of cotton candy at the end of each meal not to mention a number of bars serving dessert drinks topped with the fluffy treat.