The first cotton candy machine was invented in Nashville, Tennessee, in the late 19th century by dentist Dr. William Morrison and his partner, John C. Wharton. The manual machine enabled operators to make individual servings of the confection at fairs, ball parks and amusement parks. The first automated cotton candy machine was introduced in the early 1970s, which made mass production of cotton candy possible. Americans celebrate cotton candy annually on December 7, which is National Cotton Candy Day.
Cotton candy is made from a special sugar called floss sugar. The specially treated sugar makes cotton-like fibers form. Cotton candy sold at fairs is made by a four-step process that involves heating the sugar, turning it into filaments, wrapping it on a cardboard spool and shaping it. In most cases, the sweet treat's sole ingredient is sugar, yet it has fewer calories than one can of soda. Cotton candy is fat free.
Cotton candy sold in stores is packaged in high-molecular-weight polymer bags, to keep air from destroying the product. Cotton candy strands are finer than human hair strands. The confection, originally called fairy floss when it was first introduced in the United States, is still called fairy floss in Australia and Finland.