C&TCF Tidbit #11: Chewing gum I hate the most...

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C&TCF Tidbit #11: Chewing gum I hate the most...

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Feb 12, 2005 11:19 am

A break from the chocolate today… on to Willy Wonka’s least favorite confection… ewwww!

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People have enjoyed chewing gum-like substances in many lands and from very early times. Some of these materials were thickened resin and latex from certain kinds of trees. Others were various sweet grasses, leaves, grains and waxes.

For centuries the ancient Greeks chewed mastic gum (or mastiche pronounced "mas-tee-ka"). This is the resin obtained from the bark of the mastic tree, a shrub-like tree found on the island of Chios, Greece. Grecian women especially favored chewing mastic gum to clean their teeth and sweeten their breath. The ancient Mayans chewed chicle which is the sap from the sapodilla tree. From the Indians of New England, the American colonists learned to chew the gum-like resin that formed on spruce trees when the bark was cut and gum was also made from beeswax. Lumps of spruce gum were sold in the eastern United States during the early 1800s, making it the first commercial chewing gum in this country. 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.

Thomas Adams tried numerous trades before becoming a photographer during the 1860's. During that time, General Antonio de Santa Anna went into exile from Mexico and boarded with Thomas Adams in his Staten Island home. It was Santa Anna who suggested that the unsuccessful but inventive photographer experiment with chicle from Mexico. Santa Anna felt that chicle could be used to make a synthetic rubber tire; and he had friends in Mexico who would be able to supply the product cheaply to Adams.

Thomas Adams first tried to change chicle into synthetic rubber products, before making a chewing gum. Thomas Adams attempted to make toys, masks, rain boots, and bicycle tires out of the chicle from Mexican sapodilla trees, but every experiment failed. One day in 1869, he popped a piece of surplus stock into his mouth and liked the taste. Chewing away, he had the idea to add flavoring to the chicle. Shortly after, he opened the world’s first chewing gum factory.


In February 1871, Adams New York Gum went on sale in drug stores for a penny apiece. They decided on the name of Adams New York No. 1. It was made of pure chicle gum without any flavor. It was made in little penny sticks and wrapped in various colored tissue papers. On the cover of the box was a picture of City Hall, New York, in color."


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In 1880, John Colgan invented a way to make chewing gum taste better for a longer period of time while being chewed. In 1888, an Thomas Adams' chewing gum called Tutti-Frutti became the first gum to be sold in a vending machine. The machines were located in a New York City subway station.

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In 1899, Dentyne gum was created by New York druggist Franklin V. Canning. 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 1906 Frank Henry Fleer created a gum that could do the bubble trick. He called it Blibber-Blubber—and it was a flop. It seemed that when the bubble exploded across one’s face, it took turpentine to remove the substance. It was not until an August day in 1928 that a Fleer employee named Walter Diemer solved the problem. After mixing and matching ingredients for more than a year, Diemer struck pay dirt with a mixture that produced huge bubbles that were easily peeled from his face after they burst. After sitting overnight, however, the batch failed to work the following day, and Diemer had not carefully recorded his measurements and ingredients. After another four months’ experimentation, he found success again and whipped up a 300-pound batch of the goo. As he later recalled, “Well, the machines started groaning, and the mix started popping and then . . . I realized I’d forgotten to put any coloring in the gum!” The resulting gum made bubbles but was ugly. The next day Diemer generated another batch after getting hold of the nearest bottle of pink food coloring. His invention was christened Dubble Bubble and permanently linked the color pink with bubble gum.

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Circa 1920


America’s addiction to gum by the end of the 1930s was amply demonstrated during the shortages of the World War II years. Sugar, as well as peppermint and spearmint flavorings, was being rationed, and the supply of natural chewing gum latexes from the Far East had virtually dried up. A lively “pink market” developed in hoarded prewar bubble gum, with samples going for as much as a dollar. Chewers resorted to putting their gum in a glass of water overnight in an attempt to preserve freshness. The Wrigley company, now headed by William’s son, Philip, refused to cut corners on its best-known products and took Spearmint, Doublemint, and Juicy Fruit off the market, replacing them with a substitute called Orbit. Wrigley’s, however, did not lose its advertising touch and put up posters showing an empty Spearmint gum wrapper bearing the slogan “Remember This Wrapper.”


When the war ended, the demand for gum was intense. One Brooklyn, New York, resident remembered that when word got around that a local candy store was getting a shipment of Dubble Bubble, “. . . the line stretched almost a block and a half. Adults were there along with the kids. The price was at least ten times what it had been before the war. Still, people were jumping the line . . . . I guess it made us feel things were getting back to the way they used to be.”

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Another concept that helped gum sales was the addition of cards or comics. Trading cards date to the 1880s, when they were packaged not with gum but with cigarettes. The first bubble-gum cards date from the 1930s, when several companies issued them. After World War II, the business sharpened to a duel between the Topps company and a firm headed by the flamboyant J. Warren Bowman, purveyor of a gum called Blony (“the biggest piece of gum available for a penny”). Topps became tops indeed in 1955 when it succeeded in signing most major league baseball stars for its line of cards; it bought out the Bowman company a year later. The original Mickey Mantle card is today valued as high as $18,000.

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It was the Fleer company that first wrapped a comic strip around a pink chunk of gum—it featured the adventures of a plucky lad named Pud and his pal, Rocky Roller. Pud, however, was overshadowed in 1953 when Topps published the first comic insert featuring Bazooka Joe. The term “bazooka,” incidentally, was taken not from the weapon, but from a farcical musical instrument made from pipes and a funnel invented by comedian Bob Burns in the 1930s. Joe, who wore an eye patch simply for effect (his vision was reportedly fine), hung around with a colorful group of cronies named Pesty, Wilbur, and Herman.

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The gum trade has been and remains highly competitive and creative. Gums have been used to administer aspirin, nicotine, laxatives, and airsickness medicine. They have been produced in flavors ranging from cinnamon and watermelon to clove and ginseng. Gimmicks have included a gum in the shape of huge, white eyeballs, gum that doubles in size in your mouth, and a type with the ominous name of “Blow and Throw.” A shredded gum that imitates chewing tobacco has also proved popular, though it horrified public health officials who feared it was putting kids on the road to the real thing. Gum has been made sugarless and stickless (so it won’t pull out dental fillings), spicy and icy, and fruity and minty. While chewing gum never won a war or altered the course of history, the sticky substance’s development remains a clever example of American ingenuity and innovation.

Did you know??? A little gum trivia:

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o Chew gum until the sugar is gone to blow a bigger bubble. Sugar does not stretch and can cause the bubble to collapse early

o Ice cubes help remove gum from clothing

o In 1994, Susan Montgomery Williams of Fresno, Calif. set the record for largest bubble blown at 23 inches in diameter

o The majority of gum is purchased during the Halloween and Christmas seasons

o Gary Duschle of Virginia Beach, Va. holds the Worlds Record for the longest gum wrapper chain at 8.13 miles long. It almost stretches a quarter of Virginia Beach’s 38-mile shoreline

o Steve Fletcher holds the world record for largest gum wrapper collection with 5,300 packets from all over the globe. He stores his sweet stash in an old-fashioned shop display cupboard at his home in London. Steve has examples of Wrigley's Spearmint Gum from 25 different countries.

o Despite rumors, it does not take accidentally swallowed chewing gum seven years to pass through the human digestive system. Gum passes through the body in the same amount of time as other foods. However, a large portion of the physical makeup of gum is indigestible and meant to be chewed and discarded, not swallowed.

o They can't make chocolate-flavored chewing gum. Unfortunately, the cocoa butter in chocolate acts as an emulsifier on chewing gum base, making it extremely soft, negatively affecting the chewing quality of the product.
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Unread postby lumineuse » Sat Feb 12, 2005 12:05 pm

Wow, you never cease to amaze me with the stuff you dig up, DITHOT! That was a real trip down memory lane. I actually used to like Black Jack chewing gum. I don'teven know if they make it anymore - I haven't seen it in eons. I didn't know Dubble Bubble came out before Bazooka - I always thought Bazooka was vastly superior and assumed Double Bubble was a pale imitation. What I wouldn't give to still have those Beatles bubble gum trading cards I hoarded as a kid - they're probably worth a fortune now. And thanks for clearing up the mystery about chocolate flavored gum!

I had a hard time concentrating on the bit about chicle. I couldn't get Jeffrey Sheldon out of my head!
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Feb 12, 2005 12:37 pm

lumineuse, I remember Black Jack gum and Teaberry gum too. Dating myself, here. I think I still have a gum wrapper chain somewhere with those wrappers in it! I never had the Beatles trading cards (not sure how I missed those) but I did have some early baseball trading cards, which I didn't keep... :banghead:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

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Unread postby Liz » Sat Feb 12, 2005 12:49 pm

I remember the Beatles trading cards, too--the 60's equivalent to Johnny pics on the net. I've also used the ice cube a number of times. :banghead: And I too liked Teaberry.
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Unread postby Bohemian » Sun Feb 13, 2005 12:41 am

Everything we always wanted to know about chewing gum, but were afraid to ask!

I can't claim gum as part as my childhood since grandmother's feelings towards it were even stronger than Mr. Wonka's. "You look like a cow chewing its cud." Now there is a picture. As is often the case, age has brought me closer to her point of view. It is not the look so much though, as it is the sound. How I despise open-mouthed snapping! It is like fingernails on a chalkboard. Sigh - I've become my grandmother.

No matter - it is a treat now and then. There are places that still carry Black Jack, Teaberry and Clove. If you have a hankering, you can find them online at The Vermont Country Store.
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Unread postby Liz » Sun Feb 13, 2005 3:09 am

Bohemian wrote:There are places that still carry Black Jack, Teaberry and Clove. If you have a hankering, you can find them online at The Vermont Country Store.


Or try Cost Plus World Market. I saw Black Jack and Clove there today.
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Unread postby Charlene » Sun Feb 13, 2005 10:12 am

Bohemian wrote:

I can't claim gum as part as my childhood since grandmother's feelings towards it were even stronger than Mr. Wonka's. "You look like a cow chewing its cud." Now there is a picture. As is often the case, age has brought me closer to her point of view. It is not the look so much though, as it is the sound. How I despise open-mouthed snapping! It is like fingernails on a chalkboard. Sigh - I've become my grandmother


I agree. You never think much about it until you are watching the news - especially a solemn event, a presidential speech, an awards show - and someone behind the speaker will be chomping on gum...chewing...chewing...chewing away with no regard that the camera is on them. I often wonder if this people cringe later and swear off gum forever when they see themselves on TV.

Their mothers/grandmothers should have warned them that when in the public eye (and heck if I didn't see this numerous times at the Golden Globes) you do not:

-chew gum in public
-lean over and whisper in another person's ear (very rude to your tablemates)
-make a comment that can be lip read by the viewing public as another person stands up to go forward (and you can tell it is not a nice comment)
-for men - standing up to have your picture taken without rebuttoning your jacket - and if you are the only one in the group that didn't - it makes for a horrible picture
-look bored/yawn

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Unread postby truelymadlydepply » Mon Feb 14, 2005 2:54 am

well this has been great reading about chewing gum
i love chewing gum, but have to be careful not to chew it at work as i work receptioning in a hospital department
i used to be a theatre nurse and we all chewed behind our masks
cause theres nothing worse than breath behind those masks
we used to joke and call it our staple diet
also nobody could see that you chewed
when i went to the States i was really impressed with the range of flavours
in nz we have pretty limited ranges, no cinnamon or cloves
just the sort of minty ones and some peach (yuk) stuff
but im an addict
yeah yeah i know i look and probably sound like a cow
my teacher at school told me that i did anyway
but chewing gum is really good for your teeth it sort of cleans them
anyway funny reading this thread cause i have just been turning my room upside down looking for chewing gum before coming on to the zone
i always chew when on the zone
(i know, who needs to know....)
by the way, does Johnny chew gum?
im sure ive seen him on a dvd chewing but cant remember which one
i wonder if he does in real life
"One time he, (Marlon Brando), says to me: 'How many films do you do a year?' I said, 'I dunno. Two or three.' He says, 'You've got to watch yourself. We've only got so many faces in our pocket.' "

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Unread postby truelymadlydepply » Mon Feb 14, 2005 2:57 am

well this has been great reading about chewing gum
i love chewing gum, but have to be careful not to chew it at work as i work receptioning in a hospital department
i used to be a theatre nurse and we all chewed behind our masks
cause theres nothing worse than breath behind those masks
we used to joke and call it our staple diet
also nobody could see that you chewed
when i went to the States i was really impressed with the range of flavours
in nz we have pretty limited ranges, no cinnamon or cloves
just the sort of minty ones and some peach (yuk) stuff
but im an addict
yeah yeah i know i look and probably sound like a cow
my teacher at school told me that i did anyway
but chewing gum is really good for your teeth it sort of cleans them
anyway funny reading this thread cause i have just been turning my room upside down looking for chewing gum before coming on to the zone
i always chew when on the zone
(i know, who needs to know....)
by the way, does Johnny chew gum?
im sure ive seen him on a dvd chewing but cant remember which one
i wonder if he does in real life
"One time he, (Marlon Brando), says to me: 'How many films do you do a year?' I said, 'I dunno. Two or three.' He says, 'You've got to watch yourself. We've only got so many faces in our pocket.' "

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Unread postby deedee » Mon Feb 14, 2005 4:03 am

Dear sweet Bohemian,thanks ever so much for the Vermont Country Store mention....I just spent $165.00 thanks to you. They should give you a gift certificate. Who knew they had all this stuff???? I bought everything BUT GUM. Thanks again.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Feb 14, 2005 9:24 am

trulymadlydepply wrote: by the way, does Johnny chew gum?
im sure ive seen him on a dvd chewing but cant remember which one


Is it Breakfast with Hunter where he is on stage reading? I remember seeing that and it drove me nuts!!! :mort1: :lol:
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Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby KYwoman » Mon Feb 14, 2005 11:22 am

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
trulymadlydepply wrote: by the way, does Johnny chew gum?
im sure ive seen him on a dvd chewing but cant remember which one


Is it Breakfast with Hunter where he is on stage reading? I remember seeing that and it drove me nuts!!! :mort1: :lol:


Yes, it was in BWH documentary. Johnny is on stage reading the 'wave speech' and chewing gum at the same time. If I remember right, Hunter didn't care for that much. I just think Johnny forgot to spit it out before going on. Nerves again. lol

Also, I think I read something where he stated he has chewed gum (maybe the Nicotine Gum) to help curb smoking.
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Unread postby lumineuse » Mon Feb 14, 2005 11:34 am

Yeah, KYWoman - I remember Hunter being a little PO'ed about that, too. He is such an arbiter of good behavior, you know! :lol:

Anyway, I seem to remember some footage of Johnny chewing gum with Mort hair. Can't recall the circumstances, though. You aren't actually supossed to chew that nicotine gum.
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