Who Invented Chewing Gum?
Everyone and their dog has enjoyed a piece of Gum. The sight of a dried up, mouldering piece of chewed Gum stuck to the underside of a desk won’t strike the non-chewer as very appetizing, but to the Gum-chewer-well, a piece of Gum is a piece of Gum. And there are Gum-chewers galore in this country, male and female, young and old
The ancient Greeks were known to be fond of a gummy substance named mastiche, derived from the resin of the mastic tree. In fact, Dioscorides, a Greek physician and medical botanist of the First Century, refers to the “curative powers” of the mastic in his writing. Today many Greeks and Middle Easterners enjoy chewing mastic resin, combined with beeswax, a softening agent. It may quite literally be said that mastiche is the “chew” of the Greeks, since the root “mastichan,” in Greek means “to chew.” The Mayans were not too far behind the Greeks in developing the custom of chewing gum. Research shows that in about the Second Century, this large tribe of Central American Indians practiced the art of chewing what was later to be known as “chicle,” the coagulated sap of the Sapodilla tree. The Sapodilla trees were cautiously cultivated, not being tapped for chicle until they reached the age of 70 when they produced a yield of slightly more than a kilo in one day, followed by a four to eight
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 sol