Salt Water Taffy Was Created 137 Years Ago Today

[Story by Rick Grenda from the Facebook Group, About South Jersey]

Salt Water Taffy Was Created 137 Years Ago Today

Salt Water Taffy Was Created 137 Years Ago Today

Today in 1883 a tropical storm hit Atlantic City NJ. In those days was no accurate weather forecasting and storms often arrived without warning. The night before David Bradley closed up his small candy and confection shop on the Boardwalk at St James Place not aware of the impending storm. As usual he left his stock of candy in the shop in preparation for the next day sales. After the storm, portions of the Boardwalk were destroyed, his shop survived but some ocean waves got inside and into the candy.

One of the more popular selling candies was taffy. He was able to save it by just washing it off. When Bradley reopened for business after the storm he called his water damaged taffy “Salt Water Taffy” selling it in 5 cent bags. The named took hold and he sold out his entire stock. By the next season he called all of his his taffy, Salt Water, and put up signs advertising his innovative product. In fact there was no salt or salt water in the taffy. The only difference was the name. But that was enough and soon many other taffy sellers on the Boardwalk took note of his increased sales and also started calling theirs Salt Water Taffy.

In the beginning the taffy was only sold in one flavor, molasses, but as it got popular others were added, first vanilla and chocolate and eventually dozens of flavors.. Other innovations were machines that made and wrapped individual pieces in wax paper and selling them in 1 lb to-go boxes.

The most successful seller of Atlantic City Salt Water taffy was Joseph Fralinger. A South Jersey native from the Batsto/Pleasant Mills area who was an entrepreneur in Atlantic City, involved in various businesses. He soon had 4 Salt Water taffy stores on the Boardwalk.

Thank you Rick Grenda for allowing us to share this amazing story! Be sure to give the Facebook Group, About South Jersey, a like. 

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