Wednesday, June 18, 2014


   History of Gum

   Since prehistoric times, people have chewed gum as evidence shows our ancestors chewed tree resin for enjoyment.  Greek cultures chewed resin from the mastic tree to freshen their breath.  The ancient Mayans chewed chicle sap from the Sapodilla tree that is the forerunner for today's modern chewing gum.
   Spruce tree resin and beeswax were popular to chew by the Native Americans and the early settlers.  In 1848, John Curtis made the State of Maine Spruce Chewing Gum using the resin from the spruce tree.  The gum was sold in lots of two hunks for a penny.  Later, paraffin wax replace spruce as a base for gum. William Semple was granted the first patent for chewing gum in 1850.

   In 1880, Santa Anna sent his friend, an inventor named Thomas Adams, some chicle sap from Mexico.  Adams and Santa Anna were trying to find a way to make money by using the chicle sap.  Adams tried mixing it with rubber to make a better tire; however, he decided the mixture was useless.  When he overheard someone ask for gum whil he was in a drug store, he tried using just the chicle sap to make chewing gum.  He created Black Jack Gum which was licorice flavored and was hugely popular.  This was the first gum to be sold in sticks.  The only problem was that the flavor could not be maintained.

   While experimenting with adding corn syrup and sugar to the chicle gum, William White, an employee of Adams, found the solution to the flavor problem.  He added peppermint flavor and it did stay on the gum.  In 1888, Adams' gum, Tutti-Frutti, became the first gum sold in vending machines found in the New York subway system.

   In the 1900's, William Wrigley promoted chewing gum by advertising on billboards and newspapers.  His sale of spearmint gum surged.  Today, to grow the mint that Wrigley's needs for its mint flavored gums, it would take 53 square mile of farmland.  That equals about 30,550 football fields.  All the spearmint grown for Wrigley's gum is grown in the United States.  If each stick of gum that is produced annually was laid end to end, it would circle the world 19 times.
   During  WWII, chewing gum, believed to reduce tension, promote alertness and improve morale, was used by soldiers and its use spread around the world.  Sugarfree and surgarless gums were added inth 1950's.  Today, sales of surgarless gums outsell regular.

   Bubble Gum 

   The first bubble gum, called Blibbler Blubber was never sold by its inventor Frank Fleer.  However, an employee of the Fleer company, Walter Diemer, perfected bubble gum when he was experimenting with different  gum recipes.  Bubble gum is pink because the manufacture only had that color available.  The color was popular so most bubble gum today remains pink. The Fleer Company mass produced this form of chewing gum under the name of Dubble Bubble.  People were taught by salesmen how to blow bubbles.

   After WWII, The topps Company added Bazooka bubble gum with "Bazooka Joe" comics.  In 1953, the company added baseball cards packaged with the bubble gum.

   How to blow a bigger bubble:

   Chew gum until the sugar is gone as sugar will not stretch.

   How is Chewing Gum Made?

   Every type and brand of chewing gum has a specific recipe.  All gums use a base either a resin from tropical trees, wax or synthetic products.  Sugar, corn syrup, and flavoring are added.  These secrets are carefully guarded by manufacturing companies.  Ingredients are heated until the mixture is thick like maple syrup, Sorbitol, mannitol or other sweeteners are added to make sugarless gum.  The liquid then is cooled and goes through a roller to flatten it for stick gum.  Coated gum has an additional process of being cut and then coated with powdered sugar.  It sits for 48 hours prior to being candy coated.

Bear made from chewing gum

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