Funded! This project was successfully funded on February 4, 2012.

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We want to recover, restore and preserve Victorian candy making equipment and techniques before the skills and equipment are lost.

What are we trying to do?

We are trying to save some Victorian candy equipment and return it to use before the equipment and the skills to use it disappear. To do this we are turning to the new technologies of Kickstarter to save these old technologies from being lost.

What is Lofty Pursuits and Public Displays of Confection?

Lofty Pursuits is a toy store and soda fountain located in Tallahassee, Florida run by Gregory Cohen. Public Displays of Confection is the new project here with candy master Wes Raley to rescue and restore Victorian era candy making equipment to once again make hard candies in a style that has almost been lost to time.

Some berry candy we have made using similar equipment we have.

The candy is still new to us, but here is a blurb about Gregory Cohen and what he has done with the American soda fountain that was posted by the New York Times.

Wes Raley forming hot sugar.

With the soda fountain we have taken the best from the history of the genre, and we have mastered the skills to bring the soda fountain forward in time. We are now doing this with hard candy. Wes, our candy master had has a rapid fire year, moving to Tallahassee, marrying his childhood sweetheart and having a child. His candy is a lot like a second child, full of love and care. He and his apprentice Uri (yes, you have to apprentice to learn these skills, and just like Wes did, Uri and others are doing now) are making by hand candy, using the same techniques that would have been common 70 years ago.

What will this money be used for?

Equipment

We will be acquiring equipment from a closed store called Mullane's, that was founded around 1848 in Cincinnati, OH.

Here is a photo from the late 1800's of  Mullane's candy store, it is the five story building with the heart shaped sign. The building is still there, even if the candy company is no more.

The equipment we will be getting is a candy press and 19 sets of interchangeable candy rollers made between 1860 and 1890. This is one of the largest set of rollers surviving. This is a single chance to rescue this equipment from gathering dust in a  private collection or in a museum, and to restore it to candy production. The last owner of the candy part of this business has this original equipment, probably purchased for the firm around 1885. The current owner has worked hard with us to sell it to us at a price we can afford. He has turned down other offers that were more than ours where the machines would be in private collections or on display. Instead he accepted ours, because he too wants the machines to stay in use making candy. We will be acquiring 19 sets of drop rollers and a frame for them that were made by Thomas Mills and Brother of Philadelphia PA.

A photo of some of the equipment we are trying to obtain.

These rollers are very rare, and this collection has some of the rarest designs around. Included are four sets of rollers that were custom made for Mullane's candy store embossed with the name of the store. With these rollers come the secret recipe for their Nectar flavor, that has not been made for about 25 years. We will be reintroducing this 100+ year old recipe. The store's owner has also included for us a Collum's Butter Cup Cutter from 1885, another hard candy tool from the time that we hope to restore and use to make hard candies filled with chocolate or peanut butter.

Restoration

From the best we can tell these rollers have not been used since about the 1940's. They will require some restoration to make them usable and food safe. This will take about a month. We have a lot of experience restoring this old equipment, we currently have five other candy machines of the same era that we have already restored.

We just finished fixing up a Ribbon candy machine from 1865. We just produced the first batch of candy on it on Christmas eve.

Like all restorations of this type of machine, some parts will have to be fixed using reverse electroplating, others will be polished, sanded and filled.  If the shafts are worn, shims will have to be machined to replace the missing metal. This will take time, love, labor and some money. Thankfully we can do most of these repairs ourselves so the cost is not as high as it could be.

What Do You Get In Return?

Being a backer means you are actively participating in the preservation of a nearly lost art form, and that you will help it continue into the next generation. Once lost, skills like this are rarely recovered. You will be helping preserve one of the wonderful combinations of food and technology. As a thank you we will send you some of the candy we make, T-shirts or other tokens of our thanks as well as credit in the upcoming on-line museum of our candy equipment collection. We can't preserve this bit of history without you. Any pledge amount, no matter how small will be appreciated and will help.

How do I pledge with Kickstarter?

Just go to the top of this page and click on pledge page that is run by Amazon. You can pledge any amount over $1 but certain amounts will get you thank you gifts from us here at Lofty Pursuits.

All or nothing?

Either we raise the full amount or we raise nothing. That is how Kickstarter works, so if we do not raise our goal, you will not be charged. You only get charged if we can make this project happen.

You can help in other ways!

We are always looking for donations of old candy and soda fountain equipment. If you want to find a good home for this old equipment, please let us know.

A Humbug Cutter that we have restored.

Any money raised above and beyond our goal will go to tracking down, acquiring, preserving and restoring more Victorian candy equipment.

More Information

You can see more about Wes Raley making candy here.

You can see some machines we have already restored here.

You can see our candy at  our site, that has a domain name I have had for a very long time www.pd.net. Looking at what we make will show you what we are about.

Thank you for supporting our Kickstarter project.

FAQ

  • Yes, all of our candy is Vegan. The food colors that can make some foods non-vegan don't tend to hold up at the heat we work at.

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    9 backers

    A Lofty Pursuits pin-back button. Includes shipping within the US. (Shipping to Canada please add $1, International add $2 to pledge amount)

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  • Pledge $25 or more
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    99 backers

    CANDY: I hear you humming "I want Candy" under your breath. Well we have it. A 1/4 pound bag of assorted flavors of candy made on our Victorian equipment and a button. Includes shipping within the US. (Shipping to Canada please add $3, International add $5 to pledge amount)

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  • Pledge $50 or more
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    26 backers

    MORE CANDY: A 1/4 pound bag of assorted flavors of candy made on our Victorian equipment and a 1/4 pound bag of our assorted image candy and a button. Includes shipping within the US. (Shipping to Canada please add $4, International add $6 to pledge amount.) We will also add your name to a public thank you list of sponsors and helpers on our Candy Museum site that will be up this summer.

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  • Pledge $75 or more
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    7 backers

    CANDY AND GOODIES: A 1/4 pound bag of assorted flavors of candy made on our Victorian equipment and a 1/4 pound bag of our assorted image candy, as well as a Lofty Pursuits Soda Fountain "Don't be a Jerk, leave it to the professionals" T-shirt & a button. Includes shipping within the US. (Shipping to Canada please add $8, International add $11 to pledge amount.) We will also add your name to a public thank you list of sponsors and helpers on our Candy Museum site that will be up this summer.

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  • Pledge $125 or more
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    5 backers Limited (25 left of 30)

    A CANDY CANE CHRISTMAS: An assortment of 20 of our hand made candy canes delivered during the first half of December, as well as a 1/4 lb bag of assorted candies made on these Victorian Rollers, a 1/4 lb bag of our assorted image candies, and a button. Includes shipping within the US. (Shipping to Canada please add $20, International add $30 to pledge amount). The Victorian Candies and Image Candies will ship in March, the Candy Canes in December. We will also add your name to a public thank you list of sponsors and helpers on our Candy Museum site that will be up this summer.

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  • Pledge $160 or more
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    4 backers

    SEASONAL CANDY: Two 1/4 pound bags of assorted flavors of candy made on our Victorian equipment, two 1/4 pound bags of seasonal image candy (Your choice of assortments, St. Patricks Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years), two 1/4 pound bags of our variety pack of our image candy, 6 of our amazing Candy Canes (to be shipped in December), as well as our T-Shirt & a button. Includes shipping within the US. (Shipping to Canada please add $10, International add $15 to pledge amount) The seasonal candy will ship about two weeks before the holiday in question. We will also add your name to a public thank you list of sponsors and helpers on our Candy Museum site that will be up this summer.

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  • Pledge $350 or more
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    2 backers All gone!

    IMMORTALIZED ON A PIECE OF VICTORIAN CANDY EQUIPMENT: You will have a thank you plaque attached permanently to our Cullums Candy Cooler, which is one ton candy table made in Hartford CT way back in 1881. Considering that this equipment has been around for 130 years and is going nowhere fast, your name should be visible for quite a long time to come. Your help will be visible to all who come in and watch candy being made. You will of course also get two 1/4 pound bags of assorted fruit drops from the rollers we get and two 1/4 pound bags of assorted image candy, a button, as well as a photo of the staff here bowing down to your plaque. Includes shipping within the US. (Shipping to Canada please add $10, International add $15 to pledge amount.) We will also add your name to a public thank you list of sponsors and helpers on our Candy Museum site that will be up this summer.

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  • Pledge $400 or more
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    1 backer Limited (1 left of 2)

    FAME FOR YOUR NAME: You will get to help design and add a sundae, soda or float to the Lofty Pursuits menu. You will control the name, but we do require this name to be family friendly. When you come visit Lofty Pursuits in person, we expect you and your party of up to 4 to try your creation as part of this thank you. You will also get two 1/4 pound bags of candy from the new rollers & 4 buttons. We will also add your name to a public thank you list of sponsors and helpers on our Candy Museum site that will be up this summer.

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  • Pledge $500 or more
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    0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)

    CUSTOM IMAGE CANDY PARTY: A candy party for 10 with ice cream for everyone, where we make a custom batch of image candy with your art or text in it, custom designed and made by hand by our candy master Wes Raley. Approximately 8 pounds of custom candy will be packaged in 1/4 pound bags with custom labels. If you can't come to Tallahassee, we will custom make the candy for you and ship it to you. This level also includes a bag of assorted candy from the Victorian Equipment, the t-shirt and button. Includes shipping within the US. (Shipping to Canada please add $20, International add $30 to pledge amount). We will also add your name to a public thank you list of sponsors and helpers on our Candy Museum site that will be up this summer.

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  • Pledge $600 or more
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    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    IMMORTALITY ON ICE: No, not cryogenics. We will help you achieve immortality via ice cream. You get to help us design and name a custom flavor of ice cream that we will produce. Your name and flavor will be sold at Lofty Pursuits, in Tallahassee, FL sometime in the spring. If you are local, you will be invited to a flavor release party where you will get to enjoy your flavor and take home four pints of it. If you are not here (but live in the 48 United States) we will overnight ship in dry ice four pints of this flavor for you to enjoy at your own home. We can not ship this outside the 48 states. We will also add your name to a public thank you list of sponsors and helpers on our Candy Museum site that will be up this summer.

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  • Pledge $900 or more
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    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    A BAG OF EVERYTHING WE MAKE: A candy party as listed above and a bag of every shape of drop roller candies from the first batch of candy produced on each roller set when they are restored. The drop roller candies will be shipped as the restorations are complete over a two to six month period. This should be a total of 25 different designs (19 new ones, 6 we already have). This will amount to about 15 pounds of candy as well as well as our t-shirt and our button. Includes shipping within the US. (Shipping to Canada please add $30, International add $40 to pledge amount.) We will also add your name to a public thank you list of sponsors and helpers on our Candy Museum site that will be up this summer.

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  • Pledge $2,000 or more
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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    WE BRING THE FOUNTAIN TO YOU: We have a portable soda fountain, possibly the only one out there. It is a converted 1950's soda fountain and it works great. We will bring our soda fountain with its taps loaded with 10 gallons of seltzer, 10 gallons of root beer, 12 gallons of ice cream, syrups, toppings, cups spoons, all that is needed to make everything from a root beer float to a New York egg cream to a sundae. We have a limit of a 5 hour driving range with this battle ship. (Heck, it weighs 800 lbs fully loaded), and there are some location needs. (We need solid flat surfaces to move the equipment.) And if an over night stay is required, we need a place to crash, but short of that, you will have the best ice cream party on the go, with us at your doorstep. We will even provide a soda jerk in full uniform to serve the ice cream. Not to leave out the candy, we will bring a few bags of the hard candies so you can see and taste them in person. This can, of course, be combined with the "immortality on ice", in which case we'll bring 3 gallons of your flavor of ice cream for your party. (Limit 5 hour drive from Tallahassee, contact us if you need a little more drive time. Range is limited, and the hotter it is, the shorter a drive we can make without the ice cream melting. Look at the specs on the Lofty Pursuits web site for more information. Exact time of event will have to be arranged with us in advance. Should be used by September 2012 unless otherwise arranged. We will also add your name to a public thank you list of sponsors and helpers on our Candy Museum site that will be up this summer.

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  • Pledge $3,000 or more
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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    HAVE US BRING THE CANDY MAKING TO YOU: We have a portable candy making rig that allows us to make some of this candy on the road, at your store, house, trade show booth or at a party or wedding of your choice. If you want it, we can do it. Our portable rig can fit on an airline (Two boxes, one with overweight charges) and we can make some of our image candy, or our Victorian machine candy wherever you want. This thank you only includes the staff, equipment and time. You will have to provide transportation, a place to stay, help in acquiring common ingredients locally (mostly sugar), two 20 amp circuits for us to plug our cooker and heating top into, and a heat proof, preferably stainless, table for us to use. One again, contact us for more information. Exact time of event will have to be arranged with us in advance. Must be used by September 2012 unless something else is worked out in advance. We will also add your name to a public thank you list of sponsors and helpers on our Candy Museum site that will be up this summer.

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Funding period

- (30 days)