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The History and Origins of Salt Water Taffy: A Sweet Coastal Tradition

wockenfuss candies history and origins of salt water taffy

Learn more about the fascinating history and origins of salt water taffy!

Do you enjoy salt water taffy every summer? Do you ever wonder how this sweet confection got its start and how it became so beloved? Like many favorite recipes, the exact history and origins of salt water taffy aren’t entirely known. However, we do know this American-made candy has been around for over 100 years and is enjoyed by millions. But who is credited with inventing salt water taffy, and how did it get its name? Discover more about your favorite Wockenfuss candy today! 

Where and When was Salty Water Taffy Invented? 

There are a few popular origin stories for salt water taffy. The most popular history and origins of salt water taffy claim Atlantic City as the birthplace of this coastal treat. Most historians agree that John Ross Edmiston was involved in its creation in the early 1880s. Edmiston owned a small boardwalk postcard shop in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and hired David Bradley to sell taffy alongside his cards. 

The legend goes that an ocean swell flooded this boardwalk shop one night. The following day, Edmiston discovered all the taffy had been soaked in salt water! That day, a young girl visited the shop to ask whether taffy was available. Bradley joked and said he had some “salt water taffy” to sell. The girl purchased the taffy and shared it with her friends. Her mother heard this name, loved it, and pretty soon, the phrase “salt water taffy” took off! 

Is It Really Made With Salt Water? 

While the origins of salt water taffy may be more literal, today’s candy has not been soaked in coastal waters. Recipes for salt water taffy vary, but none contain actual salt water. However, both water and salt are usually added at some point during the production process! 

The Candy’s Coastal Origins

Atlantic City was a popular getaway for Northeasterners in the late 1800s. The town was full of fine dining, upscale hotels, boardwalk games, and sweets, so a candy shop had to do a lot to stand out from the crowd and draw in tourists. The unique invention of “salt water taffy” greatly appealed to those looking for original Atlantic City confections. 

Joseph Fralinger, an Atlantic City confectioner, is credited for being this candy’s first successful merchandiser because he came up with the idea of boxing up the taffy for people to take home. To this day, beach-goers love to pick up a box of individually wrapped taffy to take home as a souvenir. Taffy is now available in shops nationwide and not just in boardwalk confectioneries. 

Find Your Box of Salt Water Taffy at Wockenfuss Candies

If you’re craving salt water taffy, visit your local Wockenfuss Candies today to select your favorite box, gift bag, or assorted collection of salt water taffy. Our fresh flavors are beloved by all, and perfect for summer vacation!

A Wide Selection of Delicious Treats from Wockenfuss Candies

Head to and browse our wide selection of chocolates and candies; we promise you won’t be disappointed! Wockenfuss Candies is one of the oldest candy makers in Baltimore. We opened our doors in 1915 and have proudly served the people of Baltimore ever since. If you have any questions about our wide selection of chocolates, please contact Wockenfuss Candies by calling 1-800-296-4414 or email When you’re not savoring our sweets, stay satisfied by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 21st, 2023 at 1:12 pm. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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