Chewing Gum: Food, Fad and Fashion for Over 9000 Years

Gumballs

Fun Facts About Chewing Gum

  • Chewing gum is some kind of flavored and sweetened rubber material for chewing.

  • Chewing gum is the world’s most common habit. This habit dates back to ancient times.
  • The world’s oldest piece of chewing gum is 9000 years old! Recently archaeologists found three wads of 9000 year old chewed birch resin on the Swedish island of Orust. After detailed examination by dental experts, they concluded that this piece of resin was chewed by young person (a caveman teenager).
  • The first commercial chewing gum was made and sold in 1848. by John Bacon Curtis. He called his chewing gum the State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum. John B. Curtis and his brother (to some sources John B. Curtis and his father John Curtis) came up with the practical idea of how to make and sell spruce gum as a chewing gum. They experimented with spruce tree resin and made a sticky, rubbery material which could be chewed. Then they added flavor to the gum and paraffin for soft and rubbery feel.
  • On July 27, 1869, Amos Tyler received the first patent in the United States for chewing gum. However, Tyler never sold his gum commercially.
  • An Ohio dentist, William Finley Semple was honored for this work using the first patent to manufacture chewing gum from December 1869. Main ingredients in Semple’s gum formula were charcoal and chalk.
    William Finley Semple, 1889 - 1969
    William Finley Semple, 1889 – 1969
  • In 1869, Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna told his idea of chicle to Thomas Adams. Adams tried to make toys, masks, and rain boots out of chicle, but neither of his products were commercially successful. In 1869 he simply added flavor to the chicle! That was the first step for creating world’s first modern chewing gum! The first mass marketed chewing gum was called Adams New York Chewing Gum. In the 1870s, Adams & Sons sold “Sour Orange” flavored gum as an after dinner candy. In 1871 Thomas Adams patented a machine for the manufacture of gum. That year Adams created a licorice-flavored gum called Black Jack. However, all the these gums had one big problem, they could not hold flavor.
  • The problem with holding flavor was not fixed until 1880, when William White combined sugar and corn syrup with chicle. For better taste he added peppermint extract. He found out, that peppermint stayed in the gum during chewing for much longer than other flavors. He called his first peppermint flavored gum Yucatan gum.
  • The Fleer Brothers first gum invention:  Chiclets
    The Fleer Brothers first gum invention: Chiclets

    In 1880, Henry and Frank Fleer experimented with chicle from sapodilla tree. Fleer brothers made cubes of the chicle substance and overlayed the cubes with sweet material. They called their invention “Chiclets”.

  • Frank Fleer was also the inventor of the world’s first bubble gum called Blibber-Blubber gum. However, that gum was too sticky to enjoy, and never sold well.
  • In 1888, Thomas Adams’ chewing gum, Tutti-Frutti, was the first chewing gum that was sold from a vending machine. The very first chewing gum vending machine was located in one of the New York City subway stations.
  • 1891 William Wrigley Jr founded Wrigley Chewing Gum. Existing companies offered similar products that were much more popular, than gums from Wrigley’s. One day in 1892, Mr. Wrigley got the idea of offering two packages of chewing gum with each can of baking powder. This offer was a huge success! His first two brands were Lotta and Vassar. Juicy Fruit gum came next in 1893, and Wrigley’s Spearmint was introduced later that same year.
  • Wrigley's Doublemint Gum:  a Wrigley/Fleer collaboration
    Wrigley’s Doublemint Gum: a Wrigley/Fleer collaboration

    In 1914 William Wrigley and Henry Fleer added mint and fruit extracts to a chewing gum with chicle. This is how Wrigley’s Doublemint, popular brand was created. The Wrigley Company was rapidly becoming an international success. Wrigley brands became known the world over. The first factories were established in United States and soon. Wrigley’s Doublemint factories were established in Canada (1910), Australia (1915), Great Britain (1927) and New Zealand (1939).

Double Bubble Logo

Fleer spinoff: Double Bubble

  • In 1928, an accountant for the Fleer gum company Walter Diemer attempted to make a new rubber product, but he accidentally founded bubble gum, that was not sticky. He called it Double Bubble. Double Bubble this gum was based on original Frank Fleer formula.
  • In 1951, the Topps Company reinvented the popularity of bubble gum by adding baseball cards to a package, replacing their previous gift of a single cigarette. Children and parents loved this.
  • Some sources indicate that today there are 115 companies that are manufacturing chewing gum, located in 30 countries (41 of them in the United States only!). In many stores that sell chewing gum, you can find more than 30 different brands of it!

  • More than 100,000 tons of chewing gum is consumed every year.
  • Every year over 374 trillion sticks of chewing gum are made.
  • The average person chews over 300 sticks of gum each year!
  • In the next 5 years, over 1 million metric tones of chewing gum will be produced.
  • The Chewing Gum Industry is profitable market. The world’s chewing gum industry is estimated to be worth approximately US $19 billion.
  • Assuming each piece of gum is chewed for 30 minutes, that is 187 billion hours of gum-chewing per year.
  • In the beginning, chewing gums were made only by hand! Today almost all gum is made by machine.
  • Most chewing gum is purchased between Halloween and Christmas.
  • Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying.
  • Humans are the only animals on earth that chew gum.
  • Even astronauts chew chewing gum! Only problem is disposal… so they have to swallow them…
  • The bubble gum art of Maurizio Savini
    The bubble gum art of Maurizio Savini

    Over the last 10 years, Maurizio Savini, an Italian artist, has been creating sculptures using thousands of pieces of chewing gum!

  • Today almost 35% of chewing gum is manufactured by Wrigley Company.
  • Chewing gum stays in stomach usually a day or two after we eat it – not seven years as you may have heard.
  • When children swallow gum one of the biggest dangers is the risk of choking. Children under the age of six should not be given chewing gum (especially no bubble gum).
  • Many dentists now widely recommend chewing sugar free gum to their patients.

 

Special thanks to www.chewinggumfacts.com

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3 Comments

Filed under Entertainment, Food, Science, Sports

3 responses to “Chewing Gum: Food, Fad and Fashion for Over 9000 Years

  1. I have looked for good info on this topic the past a long time! Your blog can be greatly treasured.2

  2. This is a smart blog. I mean it. You have so much knowledge about this issue, and so much passion. You also know how to make people rally behind it, obviously from the responses. Youve got a design here thats not too flashy, but makes a statement as big as what youre saying. Great job, indeed.

  3. tambrchi

    Dear Mr/Mis

    Timus Avid company is exporting natural chicle Gum & mastic Gum .If you like to send you a sample

    Timus Avid Co.
    E-mail : sm.tambrchi@yahoo.com
    Web Site : http://www.timusavid.com

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