× Close
Call 1-844-400-7645 Book Now

History of Chewing Gum

Thursday - October 26th, 2023
post featured image

Is there anything more quintessentially American than bubble gum? You might be surprised to learn that chewing gum (in one form or another) has been around for thousands of years. Read on to learn more about the history of chewing gum.

Gum Beginnings

Chewing gum history begins thousands of years ago. Some of the first examples of chewing gum actually originated in the Americas. The ancient Mayans chewed chicle, which is the sap from the sapodilla tree, while North American Indians chewed the sap from spruce trees. This habit was passed down to early settlers, who made chewing gum from spruce sap and beeswax.

History of Chewing Gum Timeline

1800s – Beginning of the Chewing Gum Industry
The first commercial chewing gum, the State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum, was sold by John B. Curtis in 1848. This gum was initially made out of spruce tree resin but it didn’t taste great. Curtis switched to ingredients such as paraffin wax to achieve a better flavor.

In 1869, a dentist named William Semple was the first person to patent a chewing gum. His gum recipe consisted of charcoal and chalk.

The chewing gum industry truly exploded when an inventor named Thomas Adams entered the scene. Before creating his own company, Adams worked with the famous Mexican president, General Antonio López de Santa Anna, who wanted to use chicle as a substitute for rubber. Santa Anna eventually abandoned this endeavor but Adams decided to experiment with chicle and create a better chewing gum out of it. His gum was a success and he soon had a patent for a machine that could create chewing gum sticks. These sticks were popular and Adams was able to establish his company, Adams New York Gum Company, selling around five tons of gum per day. He added flavors to the gums such as natural spearmint and tutti-frutti, which became one of the first gum flavors to be sold via vending machine in 1888.

1900s – Invention of Bubble Gum
So we know more about the origins of chewing gum but what about bubble gum? Bubble gum was created in 1928 by Water Diemer. He originally worked for a man named Frank Fleer who owned a chewing gum company. Fleer wanted to create a product that was different from anything else in the industry. He came up with Blibber-Blubber, a gum that could be blown into bubbles. Unfortunately, the gum was too sticky and therefore hard to sell. Diemer experimented with Fleer’s formula and after many trials he came up with Dubble Bubble, a bubble gum that you can still purchase to this day!

Bubble gum played a big role during WWII. It was given to soldiers as a healthy stress reliever, an alternative to cigarettes and GIs spread the popularity worldwide by trading it and giving it as gifts to people in Europe, Africa, Asia and around the world.

Present Day
Today there are more than 1,000 varieties of gum manufactured and sold in the United States and people on average chew 182 sticks a year.From its humble beginnings thousands of years ago, chewing gum has become one of the most popular forms of candies in the world. They can definitely satisify your sugar cravings, but if you are a daily gum chewer, we recommend only chewing sugar-free gum to reduce the risk of cavities.

If you have questions about which brand of gum is healthier or notice any toothaches when chewing gum, book an appointment with our team at Bright Now! Dental! We’ll make sure your teeth are healthy so you can continue chewing your favorite gums for years to come!