Chewing Gum Heyday

The era of chewing gum (Chewing Gum Heyday) prosperity began mainly in the late 1840s when a man named John Curtis produced the first commercial chewing gum and established the world’s first chewing gum factory. Another key figure was Thomas Adams, who added an unusual feature to chewing gum – the ability to stretch the gum by hand from the mouth and added flavor to the gum, which was unprecedented at that time.

John Curtis | Thomas Adams | How Thomas Got to Chicle | Stretchy Chewing Gum | Flavored Tutti Frutti Chewing Gum

1st Chewing Gum Factory (John Curtis)

The first commercial spruce chewing gum was made by boiling resin (pure spruce gum under the name Curtis & Son’s State of Maine CHEWING GUM). He cut it into strips, which were coated with cornstarch to prevent them from sticking together.

John Curtis also became the man who founded the world’s first chewing gum factory in Portland, Maine (1850s).

As it turned out, resin gum was a dead-end – it didn’t taste good, and its structure became brittle when chewed. Curtis and company decided to change the recipe and add ingredients like paraffin wax. There was a great demand for gum. However, it still wasn’t chewing gum that satisfied taste buds. That achievement was accomplished by Thomas Adams.

Thomas Adams

Inventor Thomas Adams from New York was another key figure in the history of chewing gum. He contributed to the development of chewing gum as we know it today:

  • chewing gum with an unusual feature – stretching the gum by hand from the mouth to a greater distance,
  • flavored chewing gum.

How Thomas Got to Chicle 🙂

In the 1860s, Thomas Adams came into contact with Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who needed to sell stocks of hardened chicle gum sap. Adams did not originally plan to use chicle for making chewing gum. He wanted to use this raw material to replace expensive rubber in the production of rubber boots. However, the experiments failed. It is rumored that he put a piece of chicle in his mouth as he saw the Mexican supplier do and was surprised that chicle could be chewed. He invested his last savings in improving the properties. He cooked the mass and shaped it into small balls. The chewing gums sold well.

Stretchy Chewing Gum

Chewing gums made from chicle were characterized by the unusual feature of stretching the gum by hand from the mouth to a considerable distance. He also invented a machine for making chewing gum balls and had it patented.

Flavored Tutti Frutti Chewing Gum

Thanks to further experiments, he caused flavored chewing gums and changed their shape to an elongated rectangle. He made a breakthrough on the market with the sweet Tutti Frutti chewing gum, which started selling in 1888 in New York’s street vending machines. With this act, another entry was added to the group – types of chewing gums 🙂

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