The Mathematics of Taffy Pullers JEAN-LUC THIFFEAULT affy is a type of candy made by ﬁrst heating sugar to a concentric circles. This is not a ‘‘true’’ taffy puller: a piece of critical temperature, letting the mixture cool on a taffy wrapped around the rods will not grow exponentially. T slab, then repeatedly ‘‘pulling’’—stretching and fold- Firchau’s device would have been terrible at pulling taffy, ing—the resulting mass. The purpose of pulling is to get air but it was likely never built. bubbles into the taffy, which gives it a nicer texture. Many In 1900, Herbert M. Dickinson invented the ﬁrst non- devices have been built to assist pulling, and they all consist trivial taffy puller, and described it in the trade journal The of a collection of ﬁxed and moving rods, or pins. Figure 1 Confectioner. His machine involved a ﬁxed rod and two shows the action of such a taffy puller from an old patent. rods that move back-and-forth. The moving rods are ‘‘trip- Observe that the taffy (pictured as a dark mass) is stretched ped’’ to exchange position when they reach the limit of their and folded on itself repeatedly. As the rods move, the taffy
The Mathematical Intelligencer – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 26, 2018
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