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Photograph by Sam Murphy

TAFFY PULLING MACHINE

By William Gurstelle

TWISTED, TUGGED, AND TASTY

Make a simple mechanism that pulls delicious candy while it stretches the limits of multidimensional math.

Sometimes the simplest things have richer histories and more complex scientific connections than you ever imagined. Such is the case for the taffy pulling machine. Taffy pullers manipulate long strands of semisolid, sugary dough into the delicious, chewy confection called salt water taffy. After viewing myriad taffy machines in tourist traps and internet videos, I sought to build one for myself.

Why? Well, when in operation, these devices display ...

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