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The History of Chewing Gum and Bubble Gum

From Mary Bellis,
Your Guide to Inventors.
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By the early 20th century, Americans could not get enough of the confection called chewing gum invented by Thomas Adams.


  • The ancient Greeks chewed mastiche - a chewing gum made from the resin of the mastic tree.
  • The ancient Mayans chewed chicle which is the sap from the sapodilla tree.
  • North American Indians chewed the sap from spruce trees and passed the habit along to the settlers.
  • Early American settlers made a chewing gum from spruce sap and beeswax.
  • In 1848, John B. Curtis made and sold the first commercial chewing gum called the State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum.
  • In 1850, Curtis started selling flavored paraffin gums becoming more popular than spruce gums.
  • On December 28 1869, William Finley Semple became the first person to patent a chewing gum - U.S patent #98,304.
  • In 1869, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna introduced Thomas Adams to chicle.
  • In 1871, Thomas Adams patented a machine for the manufacture of gum.
  • In 1880, John Colgan invented a way to make chewing gum taste better for a longer period of time while being chewed.
  • By 1888, an Adams' chewing gum called Tutti-Frutti became the first chew to be sold in a vending machine. The machines were located in a New York City subway station.
  • In 1899, Dentyne gum was created by New York druggist Franklin V. Canning.
  • In 1906, Frank Fleer invented the first bubble gum called Blibber-Blubber gum. However, the bubble blowing chew was never sold.
  • In 1914, Wrigley Doublemint brand was created. William Wrigley, Jr. and Henry Fleer were responsible for adding the popular mint and fruit extracts to a chicle chewing gum.
  • In 1928, an employee of the Frank H. Fleer Company, Walter Diemer invented the successful pink colored Double Bubble, bubble gum. The very first bubble gum was invented by Frank Henry Fleer in 1906. He called it Blibber-Blubber. Fleer's recipe was later perfected by Walter Diemer, who called his product Double Bubble.

Continue > Thomas Adams

How Thomas Adams first tried to change chicle into automobile tires, before inventing a chewing gum that tasted good.

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