Who commercially produced the first chewing gum?
The first CHEWING GUM commercially produced, was the ‘State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum’, manufactured by John Curtis on a Franklin stove in the kitchen of his home at Bangor, Maine in 1848. He moved to Portland in 1850 and began production of paraffin gums under names like ‘Sugar Cream’, ‘White Mountain’, ‘Four-in-Hand’, ‘Biggest and Best’ and ‘Licorice Lulu’. At the same time his range of spruce gums was extended to include ‘American Flag’, ‘Trunk Spruce’, ‘Yankee Spruce’ and ‘200 Lumb Spruce’.
The first chewing gum manufactured from chicle was produced by a Staten Island photographer called Thomas Adams. He was introduced to chicle by General Santa Anna, the Mexican commander who had led the assault on the Alamo. The General, who had settled on Staten Island after the Mexican War of 1846, was wont to chew lumps of chicle and Adams’ son Horatio also acquired the habit. Adams’ intention was to create synthetic rubber from chicle, but when his experiments to this end failed, he decided to recoup his outlay on the large quantity of chicle he had acquired by rolling small pieces into balls and selling it as chewing gum. The first batch went on sale at a drug store in Hoboken, N.J. in February 1871 at lc each. These balls (later replace by strips) were unflavoured. The first flavoured chicle gum was Taffy-Tolu, introduced by John Colgan of Louisville, Ky in 1875. Colgan was a pharmacist and his flavouring was an aromatic resin from the bark of the South American tree Myroxylon tolui-ferum—best known as an ingredient of cough medicine. In spite of this the flavoured gum caught on and Adams countered with a sassafras gum followed by a liquorice flavoured one under the name Black Jack. This is the oldest flavoured gum still on sale today.
Another of Adams’ flavours, the very popular Tutti-Frutti, was the first gum to be sold from vending machines. These were installed on station platforms of the New York Elevated Railroad in 1888.
In Britain Beeman’s Pepsin Chewing Gum was first manufactured at Merton, Surrey in 1894. It failed to catch on with the upper strata of society, to which Beeman’s addressed their advertising, and gum-chewing cannot be said to have become part of the Victorian way of life. Chewing gum was reintroduced to Britain by Wrigley’s in 1911, though as sweatshops refused to handle the product it could only be sold in vending machines.
The first successful brand BUBBLE GUM was Double Bubble, introduced by Frank Fleer on 26 December 1928, when it went on sale at a small grocery store on Susquehanna Street, Philadelphia. He had earlier attempted to market a brand called Blibber-Blubber, but this failed because it invariably burst before a satisfactory bubble was blown.