Valentine’s Day has recently passed, but candy is still on my mind.
Before its days as a tearoom, the John Mullane Company originated and was well known as a candy company. Among their equipment for making hard candy were beautiful brass rollers with a variety of embossed shapes and designs, including John Mullane’s signature.
Ron Case, the last owner of the candy division of Mullane’s business, turned down offers from people who planned to keep the candy molds and machines in private collections, on display, or stored in museums. His decision to sell them to candy-maker Greg Cohen was based on his preference that the machines stay in use making candy.
The very rare and uniquely designed, interchangeable rollers which were custom manufactured between 1860 and 1890 make up one of the largest sets of surviving rollers anywhere in the country, perhaps even the world. Some of these original equipment pieces have been restored and are currently being used in production at Lofty Pursuits in Tallahassee, Florida.
This type of equipment is no longer used because there are definitely easier ways to make candy nowadays, but Mr. Cohen fell in love with the technology of Victorian candy machines. “It’s ancient, but it’s still modern in certain ways.” He added that he thought the press and rollers had another 200 or 300 hundred years of life in them. “Candy is very soft; metal is very hard.”
Along with the equipment, and after swearing Mr. Cohen to secrecy, Mr. Case also provided the secret recipe for the Mullane’s Nectar Drops which had not been made since the late 1980s. Thus, old-fashioned style hard candies using the over one hundred-year-old recipe are once again available.
To view the candy making process in action online, key in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sd90XCvpO1k – it’s amazing!