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A Short History of Salt Water Taffy

A Short History of Salt Water Taffy

Where did salt water taffy first come from?

Summertime brings to mind the beach, and at the beach there’s plenty of treats to choose from! One of the most iconic of these treats is salt water taffy. Perhaps the deliciousness of this treat has made you curious about its origins: where did salt water taffy first come from? The answer is Atlantic City. As far back as the 1880s, Atlantic City, New Jersey, was already a well-known beach town. David Bradley owned a candy shop that was flooded after an enormous storm. As a joke, he offered some salt water taffy to a young customer who came looking for taffy.

Preparing the Salt Water Taffy

Originally, copper kettles were used to prepare taffy. The copper kettles were placed over coal fires. Once the candy was done cooking, marble surfaces were used to help cool the taffy down. After the taffy was cool enough, a hook was used to hold the taffy in place while being hand-pulled; this ensured that the mixture was aerated, a step that kept the taffy soft. Once the taffy was stretched to about five feet long, it was hung on the hook.

Once pulled from the hook, the taffy was brought to a surface where it was cut with scissors into small pieces about two inches long. The pieces were wrapped in wax paper already cut to fit the individual pieces.

Modern taffy is also prepared in copper kettles, but stainless steel may also be used. The taffy is double cooked in a vacuum. However, the original processes for preparing salt water taffy have given way to modern technology. Automation has replaced pulling and wrapping by hand. This method allows greater and more efficient production of taffy in much larger quantities.

Common Ingredients

What are some of the most common ingredients used in salt water taffy? Here are the essentials needed for the best salt water taffy:

  • Sugar
  • Cornstarch
  • Corn syrup
  • Glycerin
  • Water
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Flavoring
  • Food coloring

There is no real sea water involved in the production of salt water taffy. As the name might imply, salt and water are key ingredients in the process. There are plenty of flavors available to choose from, too, including popular choices such as orange, peanut butter, and root beer. Which one is your favorite?


Since 1915, Wockenfuss has been a family owned and operated business creating the finest confections in Baltimore, Maryland. With our nine convenient locations throughout Maryland, there is sure to be a Wockenfuss store near you. Come visit us to see our selection of summer favorites such as our gourmet truffles & chocolate specialties.

We’d be happy to help you select the perfect sweet treat, whether for you or as a gift for a loved one. If you have any questions about our sweet seasonal candies, please contact Wockenfuss Candies by calling us at 1-800-296-4414 or emailing When you’re not savoring our sweets, stay satisfied by following us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and Pinterest too!

This entry was posted on Friday, July 21st, 2017 at 2:06 pm. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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