Suiter Swantz IP takes a look back at past inventions and inventors with our Patent of the Week

This week we look at a fall favorite, caramel apples. Caramel apples were created as an experiment with leftover candy.  In the 1950s, Dan Walker, a Kraft Foods sales representative had an excess of caramel candy from Halloween. He decided to melt the caramels down and add apples to it. The addition of the apples was a hit and from there the caramel apple was born.

For the first decade or so caramel apples were made by hand until Harry Pikal of Bangor, Michigan, and Vito Raimondi and his uncle William Raimondi, from Chicago, Illinois invented and patented automated caramel apple dipping machines. Pikal’s machine, MACHINE FOR COATING APPLES ON STICKS was granted a patent on May 15, 1956 (U.S. Patent No. 2,745,374). An excerpt from the patent says:

The principle objects of this invention are:

First, to provide a machine which will automatically coat apples with a coating of caramel or other sticky confection and thereafter apply a layer of a comminuted comestible such as crushed nuts.

Second, to provide a machine which will remove excess confection coating from a freshly coated apple and immediately thereafter subject the apple and the coating to a supply of comminuted comestible to cause the comestible to adhere to the coating while it is still in sticky condition and well adapted to receive the comestible.

Third, to provide an apple coating machine which will translate apples on sticks through a heated dip bath of caramel and immediately spin off excess caramel and thereafter quickly deposit the apples in a rolling position on a table covered with comminuted comestibles such as crushed nuts so that the apples are rolled across the layer of nuts while the caramel coating is still in sticky condition.

The Raimondi family invented and were granted a patent on May 2, 1972, for COATED APPLE CONFECTION MAKING MACHINE (U.S. Patent No. 3,660,118). An excerpt from their patent says:

A cyclically operated coated apple confection making machine includes a handle stick storage hopper from which handle sticks are discharged one at a time at a first work station and are inserted automatically into handle stick-gripping and apple-holding devices, carried by a main movable endless or rotary turntable carrier, by which the handle sticks are automatically inserted into apples carried by a movable endless or rotary turntable apple carrier at a second apple pick-up work station… The handle sticks and attached apples are then moved through a caramel container in which they are rotated to coat the apples with a coating of caramel. The caramel-coated apples are then moved to a fifth work station where they are lowered into and rotated in a first receptacle or tray for ground nuts so as to coat the caramel-coated apples with an outer coating of layer of ground nuts.

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