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The History of Chewing Gum
Transcript of The History of Chewing Gum
Many ancient cultures have chewed gum-like substances going back thousands of years B.C. In ancient Greece, people, especially women, chewed mastic gum, or "mas-tee-ka", that formed from a resin contained in the bark of the mastic tree found mainly in present day Greece and Turkey. They used this gum to clean their teeth and sweeten their breath.
The Natives of New England introduced chewing gum to the first English settlers when they taught them how to quench their thirst by chewing on a gum-like resin that forms on spruce trees when the bark is cut.
Presented by Jessica Orgusyan
Remnants of gum-like substances have even been found in early human settlements in Finland, dating as far back as 5,000 years.
Aztecs, Incas, and Maya
Gum was also used in Ancient Egypt similar to the ways in which it was used in Ancient Greece, along with its uses in religious practices.
Likewise, Aztecs chewed gum-like resins to freshen their breath and also for medicinal purposes.
Early Sales: John B. Curtis
The commercial sale of gum started in America in the 1840s and went on up until the late 1860s. The main commercial salesman was John B. Curtis, whose first commercial chewing gum was called "State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum".
William Semple was the first to file a patent on chewing gum in late 1869.
"Adam's New York No. 1"
Along with his son, Tom Jr., Adams set out to make his first homemade batch of chewing gum made out of the then popular substance called paraffin wax gum, which was widely used in American pharmacies. He named his creation "Adam's New York No. 1" and molded the gum into small gumballs that he wrapped in individually cut tissue paper of different colors.
Thomas Adams (1818-1905)
Thomas Adams was an American who, during his lifetime, worked as a photographer, glassmaker, and inventor. In the 1850s, Adams worked as a secretary for the Mexican president Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana (1794-1876). During his service as secretary, Adams noticed that Santa Ana often chewed gum of the local Manilkara Chicle tree. This is when Adams got his idea to formulate a chewing gum that he could potentially make a profit off of.
After his formula was made, Adams decided to expand his business. He initially established a small manufacturing workplace where he employed 40 women and girls. He also patented the first mechanical machine that was used to make gum in the factory.
Soon Adams' business grew drastically. He quickly became established in the various major landmarks of the United States.
From Sea to Shining Sea
1871 - Black Jack
In 1871, Adams formulated the first ever flavored gum, which he named "Black Jack" as it had the taste of licorice.
In 1888, Adams' company stalled the first gum machine in the New York subway station, which multiplied his sales. This machine sold Adams'
as well as his newer flavor
1889 - Success
The following year, Adams established a company called the "American Chicle Company", which brought together the six largest gum manufacturers. Adams held the position of a member on the board of directors until his death in 1905.
Today, Americans chew over 195 million pounds of chewing gum as it has become a product of mass distribution and popularity.
Did you know?
Cinnamon, spearmint, and peppermint are the most popular flavors of gum today . . .
WWII: U.S. military personnel spread the popularity of chewing gum by trading it and giving it as gifts to others in Europe, Africa, Asia and all around the rest of the world.
The color of the first successful bubblegum was pink because it was the only coloring that the inventor had left to use. The color became popular and "stuck" with the public, which is why bubblegum today is predominantly pink.
In the pre-Glee Gum days, Mayans used to chew plain chicle. That's the same latex sap from the sapodilla tree that gives Glee Gum its chewiness.
Studies have shown that chewing gum actually helps people concentrate and may help improve long-term and working-memory.
Turkey is the country with the most gum companies; the U.S. comes in at second.
Chewing gum burns up to 11 calories per hour.
Chewing gum after meals helps prevent heart burn.
Chewing gum while cutting onions can help a person from producing tears.
The largest bubble ever blown was 23 inches in diameter. The record was set July 19, 1994 by Susan Montgomery Williams of Fresno, CA.
Swallowed gum won't clog up your intestines, but it will be with you for a few days. Gum base can't be digested so it will pass through your system in one piece.
Singapore has tried to completely forbid gum, with heavy fines of over $6,000 for possession or use without prescription.
In 2006 the world-wide chewing gum industry was estimated to be worth $19 billion in sales, or 1.3 million metric tons of gum.
Chewing gum on an airplane will keep your ears from popping. Chewing gum makes your salivary glands produce 250% more saliva than normally, so you swallow more. This helps balance the pressure in your head.
In the U.S. alone, the total amount of chewing gum sold in one year would make a stick 3.5 million miles (5.6 million km) long. That’s long enough to reach the moon and back seven times or to circle the earth’s equator 150 times.
The US Alone
The largest piece of bubble gum ever was the size and weight of 10,000 regular pieces and was presented to baseball player Willie Mays by the Topps Chewing Gum Company in June 1974.
Back in the 1920’s, prohibition increased gum sales because people needed to mask the alcohol on their breath. When prohibition was enacted, Adam’s Clove gum hit the market with the slogan: “It takes your breath away!”
Chewing gum was illegal in all of Eastern Europe until Czechoslovakia began manufacturing it in 1957. Poland and East Germany quickly followed suit, but it was not until 1976 that the Soviet Union lifted its ban on gum.