Taffy has an Atlantic City-based origin story and a history that spans well over a century. In 1975, Kenner brought taffy-making to children, with the release of one of their more peculiar food-centric toys, The Taffy Machine.
The multi-colored Taffy Machine was designed to mimic the operation of the traditional taffy-pulling machines that were typically seen working away at candy shops or boardwalk concession stands. Kenner’s offering was entirely kid-powered, opting for a manual crank handle instead of batteries.
Similar to the company’s Easy-Bake Oven toy oven, The Taffy Machine came with three “just add water” mixes and an appropriately sized mixing bowl. The process of creating taffy was a simple matter of adding water to the mix, placing the mixture on the machine, and turning the crank. Food coloring and a dropper were also provided to allow kids to flavor their culinary concoctions in chocolate, cherry, or grape. Rounding out the package was a spatula, mixing cup, and some obligatory candy wrappers.
To promote continued use, Kenner also sold a variety of refill kits for the toy. The Taffy Machine disappeared from store shelves in 1979.
Todd Coopee is Editor-in-Chief of Toy Tales, an online publication that covers toys and games past and present.