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Fascinating facts about the invention of
Chewing Gum
by Thomas Adams in 1870.
CHEWING GUM
AT A GLANCE:
After he was defeated by the Americans in Texas, Mexican General Santa Anna was exiled to New York. Like many of his countrymen, Santa Anna chewed chicle. One day he introduced it to inventor Thomas Adams, who began experimenting with it as a substitute for rubber. Adams tried to make toys, masks, and rain boots out of chicle, but every experiment failed. Sitting in his workshop one day,tired and discouraged, he popped a piece of surplus stock into his mouth. In 1870, he opened the world’s first chewing gum factory making Adams New York No. 1.
THE STORY
RELATED INFO
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DID YOU KNOW?
Invention: chewing gum
Black Jack Chewing Gum photo courtesy the Sweet Factory
Function: noun / the first brand name was Adams New York No. 1
Definition: A sweetened and flavored preparation for chewing, usually made of chicle. Continusily manufactured since 1848, The first flavored gum was called Black Jack
Patent: Patent # 111,798 (US) issued February 14, 1871
Inventor: Thomas Adams Sr.
NO
IMAGE
AVAILABLE
Criteria: First practical. Entrepreneur.
Birth: 1818
Death: 1905
Nationality:  
Milestones:
1848 John Curtis made and sold the first commercial chewing gum called Maine Pure Spruce Gum.
1850,Curtis started selling flavored paraffin gums becoming more popular than spruce gums.
1869 Patent # 98,304 issued December 28 to William Finley Semple for rubber based chewing gum
1850 Mexican General Santa Anna introduces chicle to Thomas Adams
1870 Adams and his sons opened the first chewing gum factory making Adams New York No. 1.
1970 Patent # 107,883 issued September 27 to Weaton W. Kilbourn for a tobacco substitute gum. 
1871 Patent # 111,798 issued February 14 to Thomas Adams for a process to manufacture gum
1871 Adams created a licorice-flavored gum called Black Jack.. The first flavored gum
1880 John Colgan invented a way to make chewing gum taste better for a longer period of time
1888 Adams' chewing gum called Tutti-Frutti became the first chew to be sold in a vending machine
1891 Wrigley Chewing Gum founded by William Wrigley Jr..
1899 Adams and Sons merged with 6 other manufacturers and renamed the American Chicle Co.
1906 Frank Fleer invented the first bubble gum called Blibber-Blubber gum. However, was never sold.
1914 William Wrigley, Jr. and Henry Fleer create the Wrigley Doublemint brand
1928 Walter Diemer invents Double Bubble from the original Frank Fleer formula
Story:
People have enjoyed chewing gum-like substances in many lands and from very early times.  Some of these materials were thickened resin and latex from certain kinds of trees.  Others were various sweet grasses, leaves, grains and waxes.

For centuries the ancient Greeks chewed mastic gum (or mastiche pronounced "mas-tee-ka"). This is the resin obtained from the bark of the mastic tree, a shrub-like tree found on the island of Chios, Greece. Grecian women especially favored chewing mastic gum to clean their teeth and sweeten their breath.

From the Indians of New England, the American colonists learned to chew the gum-like resin that formed on spruce trees when the bark was cut. Lumps of spruce gum were sold in the eastern United States during the early 1800s, making it the first commercial chewing gum in this country. In about 1850, sweetened paraffin wax became popular and eventually exceeded spruce gum in popularity.

After he was defeated by the Americans in Texas, Mexican General Santa Anna was exiled to New York. Like many of his countrymen, Santa Anna chewed chicle.  One day he introduced it to inventor Thomas Adams, who began experimenting with it as a substitute for rubber. Adams tried to make toys, masks, and rain boots out of chicle, but every experiment failed. 

Sitting in his workshop one day,tired and discouraged, he popped a piece of surplus stock into his mouth.  Shortly, he opened the world’s first chewing gum factory making Adams New York No. 1.. 

After success with pure chicle gum, Adams tried to add flavor to it. He created a licorice-flavored gum called Black Jack. It was the first gum to be sold as a stick not in chunks, and was popular with the public. The gum had one drawback; it could not hold flavor.

The flavor issue was not fixed until 1880. A man named William White experimented with flavors after receiving a shipment of chicle. He solved the problem by adding sugar and corn syrup to the mix. The first flavor he used was peppermint and it stayed in the gum during chewing.

Gum made with chicle and similar latexes soon won favor over spruce gum and paraffin gum. It made possible a smooth, springy, satisfying chew that the others lacked, and it held flavors longer and better. By the early 1900s, with improved methods of manufacturing, packaging and marketing, modern chewing gum was well on its way to its current popularity.

TO LEARN MORE

RELATED INFORMATION:
Invention of Bubble Gum   from The Great Idea Finder
History of Snacks and Food    from The Great Idea Finder

ON THE BOOKSHELF:
The Kid Who Invented the Popsicle: And Other Surprising Stories About Inventions
by Don L. Wulffson / Paperback - 128 pages (1999) / Puffin

Brief factual stories about how various familiar things were invented, many by accident, from animal crackers to the zipper.
Panati’s Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things
by Charles Panati / Paperback - 480 pages Reissue edition (September 1989) / HarperCollins
Discover the fascinating stories behind the origins of over 500 everyday items, expressions and customs.
Bubblemania: A Chewy History of Buble Gum
by Lee Wardlaw, Sandra Forrest (Illustrator) / Paperback: 176 pages / Simon & Schuster; (1997)
Discusses bubble gum, including important people in the world of bubble gum, its invention and history, how it is manufactured and sold today, and gives advice on how to blow really great bubbles.

ON THE WEB:

Thomas Adams History of Chewing Gum
Adans Gum company is now part of Cadbury-Adams Company. Read this brief history pageand company timeline..
(URL: www.cadburyadams.com/AboutUs/History/tabid/68/Default.aspx)
Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company
One day in 1891, Mr. Wrigley got the idea to offer merchants free chewing gum with each can of baking powder they purchased. Today, there are about 20 chewing gum manufacturers, with the Wrigley Company being the largest.
(URL: www.wrigley.com/wrigley/about/about_story.asp)
History of Chewing Gum and Bubble Gum Gumballs
By the early 20th century, Americans could not get enough of the confection called chewing gum invented by Thomas Adams. Includes extensive timeline of gum.
(URL: www.gumballs.com/history.html)

Baseball Cards and Gum
The Topps Company, Inc. entered the baseball card field in the post-World War II period with its first series in 1951. Actually, the first baseball cards were issued in the 1880s, some 20 years before the American League was organized in 1901. The early baseball cards were included with cigarettes, and they dominated the trading card field through the early part of the 20th century.
(URL: www.topps.com/)
National Association of Chewing Gum Manufacturers
You will find everything there is to know about gum. So, come on in ... browse around and enjoy the world of gum.
(URL: www.nacgm.org/)
Stupid Candy Museum
Check out the Richard Nixon Bubble Gum, Ant Hill Gum and Snot candy.
(URL: www.stupid.com/museum.htm)
Unwrap This Site
The history of Topp's trading cards.Which ball players card is in the package.
(URL: www.topps.com/SportsCollect/spc_history.html)
William Wrigley Jr.
Life and times of Wm. Wrigley.
(URL: www.wrigley.com/wrigley/about/about_story_wm_wrigley_jr_bio.asp)
Candy USA
Estimated Year 2000 Retail Sales - Total - $23.8 Billion; Chocolate - $13 Billion; Non-chocolate - $7.5;  Billion and Gum - $2 Billion. from the National Confectioners Association * Chocolate Manufacturers Association.
(URL: www.candyusa.org)


WHERE TO FIND:
Black Jack Chewing Gum
The first flavored chewing gum.Thomas Adams, Sr. introduced Black Jack gum, the first manufactured, flavored chewing gum, in 1870.
(URL: www.sweetfactory.com/)


HOW IT'S MADE:

How do they make Gum?
A detailed explanation of how it is done at Wrigley.
(URL: www.wrigley.com/wrigley/about/about_story_plant.asp)


DID YOU KNOW?

  • Today, the average American chews 300 sticks of gum a year.
  • Did you know that chewing gum has been around for over 900 years?
  • A vast area of farmland is required to raise all the mint plants necessary to meet the Wrigley Company’s annual needs for mint oil. If added together, this farmland would equal 53 square miles, or approximately 30,550 football fields.The leading mint producing states are Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin.
  • Many doctors, however, said it was unhealthy.  In 1869, one wrote that chewing gum would "exhaust the salivary glands and cause the intestines to stick together." 
  • A leading columnist on the subject of etiquette tells a reader asking about chewing gum in public that it is perfectly all right to do so as long as it isn’t done with too much gusto.
  • A manufacturer orders his workers to stop chewing on the job—but they go to the National Labor Relations Board and win the right to do so.
  • Teachers who used to admonish their students not to chew in class now use gum to reward good work.
  • In the United States alone, there are about 20 chewing gum manufacturers, with the Wrigley Company being the largest.
  • In the United States, total retail sales of chewing gum (including bubble gum) is over $2.0 billion.
  • They can't make chocolate-flavored chewing gum.   Unfortunately,  the cocoa butter in chocolate acts as an emulsifier on chewing gum base, making it extremely soft, negatively affecting the chewing quality of the product.
  • To remove chewing gum from hair.Try using peanut butter or vegetable oil to soften the gum. This should make removing it a bit easier.
  • Candy consumption:1997 U.S. per capita confectionery consumption increased to a new all-time high of 26.7 pounds per person, a 1.8 percent increase over 1996, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce figures. Americans enjoyed a total of 7.1 billion pounds of sweet treats last year, led by non-chocolate candies, which posted a 2.3 percent gain to 12.3 pounds per person.
  • Chocolate consumption was up 1 percent, to 11.7 pounds per person. The remaining 15 pounds consumed includes gum and unspecified candy.
  • Candy retail sales in 1997 added up to an estimated $22.7 billion, a $1.3 billion increase over the previous year.
  • While Americans enjoy their sweet treats, they are no match for the Danes. In Denmark, per capita confectionery consumption tops an estimated 33 pounds per person, earning them number one position in candy consumption worldwide. Americans, overall, rank eighth. October 15, 1998
  • Holiday sales in 1998, in millions of U.S. dollars: Valentine’s Day $1.033; Easter $1.670; Halloween $1.767; and Christmas $1.418.
Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.
Reference Sources in BOLD Type. This page revised February 2, 2007.
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