Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by francine . francine Wonders, “who invented cotton candy” Thanks for WONDERing with us, francine !

Would you like to hear a joke? Okay. What does a dentist do on a roller coaster?

…He BRACES himself!

Ha! We love making our Wonder Friends smile and laugh. All jokes aside, aren’t dentists great? They help us keep our teeth clean and strong so that, when we laugh at jokes, we show off beautiful smiles. Dentists give us great advice, too. They tell us to brush, floss, and stay away from sugar.

If your dentist has ever told you that sugar is bad for your teeth, then today’s Wonder of the Day might surprise you. Have you ever WONDERed who invented cotton candy? Believe it or not, that sweet, sugary treat was invented by a dentist!

Dentist William Morrison made the first cotton candy in 1897 with the help of a candy maker named John C. Warton. Are you surprised a dentist was involved? After all, isn’t sugar the dentist’s arch nemesis? Well, yes, it is. However, cotton candy isn't as bad for teeth as you might expect. While it contains quite a bit of sugar, the treat is mostly made of air. For this reason, cotton candy actually contains less sugar than other carnival treats like candy apples and funnel cakes.

In 1904, Morrison and Wharton took their cotton candy, which they called “fairy floss,” to the St. Louis World’s Fair. They sold each box for 25 cents. Though this may not seem like much today, it was half the price of a ticket to the fair back then! Even though people may have thought the candy was expensive, they were willing to pay for it. Morrison and Wharton sold more than 68,000 boxes of fairy floss at the fair.

The first cotton candy machines were unreliable. They rattled loudly and often broke down. In 1949, Gold Medal Products of Cincinnati, Ohio, introduced a spring base for the machines that helped. Today, Gold Medal Products manufactures almost all cotton candy machines. The next time you enjoy cotton candy at the state fair, take a look at the machine! You might have Gold Medal Products to thank for your snack.

So, what happens inside the cotton candy machine? First, sugar is melted until it becomes a liquid. Then, the machine spins liquid sugar by pushing it through tiny holes that shape and cool the liquid. After it cools, the sugar becomes a solid again. The operator then rotates a paper cone around inside the machine, collecting thousands of tiny crystallized sugar threads. Once the puff of cotton candy is just the right size, it’s time to eat!

In case you’re curious about how cotton candy gets its signature pink and blue coloring, you may be surprised to find out that cotton candy, just like sugar, is naturally white. Pink and blue cotton candy is colored with food dyes.

So if a dentist made cotton candy, it must be totally healthy, right? Well, not necessarily. While cotton candy is pretty light on sugar compared to other carnival treats, it still has about the same amount of sugar as a can of soda.  That means it’s an okay treat every once in a while, but you definitely shouldn’t eat cotton candy every day.

The next time you visit a carnival, take a break from the dizzying rides and challenging games. Look around for a fluffy, sweet treat! A few bites of melt-in-your-mouth cotton candy is all you need to complete your experience!

Standards: NGSS.PS1.A, NGSS.PS1.B, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2

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No matter which direction you read it, tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day is all the same!