Saturday, September 3, 2011

Nintendo Candy Machine (任天堂 キャンデー マシン, 1970)

Because of the success of the toys Nintendo created in the second half of the 1960s, they became more and more established as a premier toy and game maker.

However, before eventually focusing fully on games and turning into a video game powerhouse in the 80s, in the early 1970’s Nintendo still did try to branch into other areas as well.

Nintendo Candy Machine (manual)

One of the nicest examples of this, is a cotton candy (candy floss) machine for home use: the Nintendo Candy Machine. It is Nintendo's only appliance, as far as I am aware.

Back of manual

Although no toy, most children will have cheered its arrival in their homes.


The Candy Machine was released in 1970, and came in a cardboard box of 35 by 35 by 25 centimeters.


The Candy Machine name was printed on the box is nice stylized katakana (キャンデー マシン), together with the Nintendo name in large kanji (任天堂). "Makes cotton candy!" the slogan (わた菓子ができる!) states.


The Candy Machine fits neatly into its box. The top of the box has a clever closing mechanism, so the box can be re-closed and used to store the Candy Machine after use.

Nintendo Candy Machine (1970)

The Candy Machine is sturdy built, but - to keep cost down - without any frills (for instance, it does not have an on/off switch). It was sold for ¥2,980.

Besides the Candy Machine, a manual and a pack with accessories are provided.

Contents of the Candy Machine set (picture taken from manual)

The accessories consist of: a vise (バイス) used to fix the Candy Machine to a table, the spinning "plate" (回転ザラ) that will hold the sugar (more on that below) and a pair of "plate scissors" (サラハサミ) used to handle the plate when it is hot.


Also provided is a small bag with 100 gram of sugar (砂糖), so nothing is stopping you from getting started right away. Very considerate.

Nintendo sugar!

The Candy Machine runs on 100V, which is the Japanese standard voltage. When plugged into the main power, the metal disc at the top of the Candy Machine is heated.


The plate is placed on this hot surface, but not before fixing the Candy Machine to the table.


The Candy Machine is now ready to use.


The big white bowl - which can be detached for cleaning - has a large Nintendo logo embossed on the inside.


The Candy Machine is semi-automatic, and needs to be turned by hand to produce the cotton candy.  When turning the handle on the front, the hot plate at the top starts spinning at a very high speed.


Sugar is poured into the spinning, heated plate. The sugar melts, and the liquid sugar is spun through the centrifugal force out of the plate. Upon leaving the plate, the streams of liquid sugar cool quickly and form the familiar sugary threads that make the cotton candy.


As an aside: this process was invented in the United States in 1897, by a dentist!


Regular chopsticks can be used to gather the cotton candy from the bowl and turn into a nice floss.

Instruction diagram (taken from manual)

Obviously, you must refrain from touching the hot (あつい!) plate and also don't make the plate shake too much (ガタガタ!) when stirring the melting sugar. For people that need some encouragement in these areas, the manual includes the usual do's and don'ts.


The box shown at the top of this post is the version most commonly found today. A second version was also released, presumably at a later time. This version is much rarer.


The only difference between the two versions is the box art. The Candy Machine inside is identical.


The most prominent difference is the English name on the box. Still, this version was also intended for the Japanese market only.


This box version does a better job of selling the Candy Machine. You can almost taste the sugar when looking at the big white floss the lady is making.


The Candy Machine was a great idea: a simplified, affordable home version of the cotton candy machines found at fairs and amusement parks. It provides further illustration that Nintendo was bursting with ideas in this period.

Nintendo Candy Machine (1970)

Before you ask: no, I have not yet tried it out myself. I am a bit hesitant to power up a forty year old device that wants to heat sugar to 400 degrees. On the other hand, I would really love some sugary floss right now...

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