A Lesson in a Card


Flipping through a stack of CDVs for sale, I am usually looking for straw bonnets, straw hats, shawls, hairnets; I am not usually interested in filler cards, even though some are pretty cute. This one caught my attention and peeked my curiosity though. I wasn’t sure what was going on in the somewhat faded image. Sure, the boy seemed to be short on coin, that may have slipped through the hole in his pocket, as suggested by the title/caption. But, what is it he was wanting to buy? Cotton candy came to mind, because that certainly is what that machine looks like. But, the timing just wasn’t working in my head. Okay, I am still struggling with what I think the timing of the image looks like and the timing I am learning about cotton candy.
I have learned a few things looking for an explanation of this card:

  • Cotton candy was also called “Candy Floss” and “Fairy Floss” at first, early in the 20th century. A type of yarn for knitting was also called “Fairy Floss” during the mid-19th century.
  • Cotton candy needs electricity (duh me) and is as much about science as it is about candy.
  • It’s predecessor was spun sugar. (Desert of Spun Sugar) (1836 directions for the Spinning of Sugar) (1850 directions for Spinning Sugar)
  • The Saint Louis World’s Fair was properly know as the Louisianna Purchase Exposition. It lasted for 7 months, not the 3 to 14 days we are used to now. (more) I surmise the wooden “fairy floss” boxes may exist somewhere.
  • Cotton candy or Candy floss machines were marketed all over the place from about 1905-1915. (more)

My doubts… It may be that it is cold out still, but I think it is cold there, they are dressed for the cold, and cold is not conducive to the wanting of cotton candy. Okay, I am not really a fan of cotton candy in any weather. The machine simply does not look like the machines the early advertisements. I don’t know if this card is showing something other than a cotton candy machine, or if the earliest versions were different than what is being advertised. This is an early mention of Fairy Floss at the fair. The illustration is minimal, not showing enough. This image seems to combine a treadle machine base with the table-top candy machine. I just can’t imagine getting up the speed needed by foot. I want an index of filler cards. I am sure there is one out there, but I am just not finding it. (My tablet just wants me to go to pinterest or buy things. Um, not the goal here.)

Closer view


The back – I find this amusing: “for Willy from Willy”20190330_150008.jpg



Per comment below, here are some 1905 images of chestnut roasting by street vendors.

Published in: on April 2, 2019 at 6:00 am  Comments (4)  

4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Maybe kettle corn, or popcorn of some sort?

  2. Roasted chestnuts? There appears to be a fire of sorts below the kettle.

  3. I’ve been looking at that burner type area. It could be chestnuts.

  4. I’m thinking potatoes; those were popular vendor food in the past: cheap and filling. But it could be chestnuts, too. There definitely is a fire under the main pot and I think there’s apotato on the side table, behind the pot.

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