See also: Gum
In 1915 to promote his chewing gum, William Wrigley sent 4 sticks of gum to every person listed in the United States phone book, about 1.5 million people.
All chewing gum was originally made from the natural gum resin called chicle, which is obtained from the sapodilla tree. Chicle is more expensive than other natural gums and newer synthetic materials, so it's use has greatly declined.
Top 5 Countries Per capita consumption of chewing gum (2004):
• Denmark - 2 lb 10 oz
• Norway - 2 lb 3 oz
• Switzerland - 1 lb 9 oz
• U. S. - 1 lb 9 oz
• Israel - 1 lb 5 oz (tied with Spain)
The country with the largest number of chewing gum manufacturers is Turkey, with more then 60 companies manufacturing chewing gum!
Chewing gum as we know it today may be an American invention, but humans have been chewing various gums, resins and latex secretions of plants for thousands of years. Mastic gum has been chewed by Mediterranean peoples for thousands of years, and Native Americans chewed the resin from spruce trees.
The first commercial chewing gum, State of Maine Spruce Gum was introduced in 1850. It was made using spruce tree resin, which had a harsh taste and tough texture. (I believe it is still available in northern New England).
In 1871 Thomas Adams patented chicle gum, with sugar and sassafras flavoring. It had the right chewing properties with no harsh taste or texture, and it caught on quickly with the American public. This was soon followed (by other companies) with peppermint flavored gum in 1885, Chiclets (gum with a hard sugar coating) in 1900, Juicy Fruit and Spearmint flavors in 1893, and finally bubble gum in 1928.
The popularity of chewing gum was both helped by, and helped spawn the developement of the vending machine. In 1888 the first vending machines in the U.S. were used to sell chewing gum in the New York Subways.
W.F. Semple of Mount Vernon, Ohio, recived a patent for chewing gum in 1869.
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