Back to all articles

The History of Saltwater Taffy

Saltwater taffy is a classic chewy, sweet candy. In case you’re wondering, no - it doesn’t contain any sea water. However, saltwater taffy does contain both salt and water. This beloved candy was first produced and marketed in Atlantic City, New Jersey in the late 1800s. There are a few different explanations for the name, but the most popular story attributes it to candy store owner David Bradley. His store was flooded during a storm in 1883, and his taffy was soaked with salt water from the Atlantic Ocean. When a young girl asked him for some taffy, he jokingly offered her “saltwater taffy” – she really did purchase it, however, and even showed the candy to her friends. Bradley’s mother happened to overhear the interaction and told him that she loved the name. After that, it stuck. The candy was popularized by Joseph Fralinger, who began selling the candy as an Atlantic City souvenir around 1886. Enoch James, a candy maker, then refined the recipe, making it less sticky and easier to unwrap. He also cut the candy into bite-sized pieces. James quickly became Fralinger’s chief competitor in Atlantic City. Saltwater taffy is still sold on the Atlantic City boardwalk today, and James and Fralinger’s stores are both still in operation.

Share this article

card showing the history of rocking chairs

Your go-to guide for weird history facts

Subscribe to the FREE daily email that makes learning about history fun.