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A Tall Taffy Tale: The Origins of Salt Water Taffy

salt water taffy

Salt water taffy can trace its origins back to a terrible storm.

As we draw closer to the official start date of summer, beaches and boardwalks are bustling! Visitors long for nostalgic favorites like salt water taffy, associating it with sunny days spent by the water, and Wockenfuss happily delivers. We’ve got a little secret, though. Salt water taffy has a muddled history, but one thing is certain: salt water taffy doesn’t have salt water in it at all. While salt and water are often ingredients in your average recipe for salt water taffy, they aren’t primary ingredients, and they don’t create that signature taste. So how did the unofficial candy of summer get its name?

The Origins

Salt water taffy got its start in Atlantic City, New Jersey, according to most taffy lore. In the summer of 1883, a massive storm hit the area: heavy rain, high winds, plenty of thunder and lightning, and a strong tidal surge. Waves grew tall enough to stretch well over the boardwalk, and several businesses in the area became completely overwhelmed and flooded with sea water. One such store was a sweet shop owned by a man named David Bradley. Bradley came in the next day to find his products drenched in salt water. Still, customers came. A young girl wandered into the store inquiring about a bag of taffy. Bradley, discouraged by his ruined product, sarcastically told the girl that all he had was salt water taffy, which the girl happily bought – which gave Bradley’s mother a brilliant idea. From then on, Bradley sold his taffy as “salt water taffy.” The new name created a perfect association between boardwalks and taffy that has proven to be an incredible marketing strategy to this day.

From its storied beginnings, salt water taffy became a legend. Its popularity as a souvenir and a treat for beachgoers can be attributed to Joseph Fralinger, the king of salt water taffy. He had the smart idea to package salt water taffy in boxes for easy transport, and to sell them to the fine folks who strolled along the Atlantic City boardwalk. Within a day of test-driving his new idea, he had sold out his supply.

Wockenfuss Salt Water Taffy

If you find yourself in Ocean City this summer, don’t forget to stop by Wockenfuss Candies for the authentic boardwalk taffy experience – or find your own piece of paradise at home by stopping at any of our other locations or by purchasing taffy online.

If you have any questions about our products, please contact us at Wockenfuss Candies: call 1-800-296-4414 or email When you’re not savoring our specialties, satisfy your sweet tooth by following us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and Pinterest!

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 25th, 2015 at 4:17 pm. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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