Every year, over 3.5 billion dollars worth of gum is sold all over the world each and every year. Gum has become popular with many people, no matter their nationality or age. But, even though gum has become one of the most popular candies in the world, few of us know the history behind it. So, today we are going to talk about 10 fun facts about gum. And many of these facts will surprise you.
Our first fun fact about gum is that it was the first candy to be enjoyed by people. Human beings have been chewing gum for thousands of years. Every major civilization in the world has indulged in some form of gum chewing, beginning with the ancient Greeks. During the first century, the Greeks began chewing a resin from the Mastiche tree. During the second century, the Mayans began chewing the resin from the Manilkara chicle, an evergreen tree that is native to Central America and has a thick, tar-like sap. Native Americans also chewed tree resin, except the resin of choice was from the Sapodilla tree. They introduced this resin to European settlers during the sixteenth century, and it would go on to become the base for chewing gum for many years to come.
The first commercial chewing gum
The first commercial chewing gum to be sold in the United States was “State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum”, manufactured in 1848 by John Curtis. He started making the gum in his home in Bangor, Maine and made it out of spruce trees. Though he did manage to sell some gum, it never became a success. That was probably because it retained the strong flavor of the spruces it came from. “State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum” didn’t die altogether, however. It can still be found in some parts of the United States and is favored by those desiring a chewing gum with a strong, pungent flavor.
Invention of bubble gum
Number three on our list is the invention of bubble gum in 1906. It was invented by Frank H. Fleer, an American confectioner who founded the Fleer Candy Company. He was fascinated with the success of chewing gum and believed that bubble gum would become the next greatest fad. Through trial and error, he created the first bubble gum which he called Blibber-Blubber. This bubble gum didn’t have the consistency that he was searching for, however and it was never sold to the public. It would take another twenty-two years before the formula would be perfected by an accountant who worked at Fleer Candy Company, Walter Diemer. He accidentally stumbled on the recipe, and perfected it in his spare time. He called it Double Bubble and it would go on to become a best seller and Fleer made over a million and a half dollars its first year. And that was selling it a penny a piece!! Which brings us to number four on our list. Walter Diemer died at the age of 93 of congestive heart failure. He was found in a movie theater stuck to the bubble gum laden floor. You could say that he was really stuck on bubble gum!
Coming it at number five on our list is chewing gum in the classroom. Teachers used to punish students for chewing gum in class, but now the reverse is true. A British study has found that chewing gum during a test can improve memory retention and concentration. In fact, in some schools in the United Kingdom, chewing gum is passed out to students before testing begins. Besides improving concentration, some people believe that chewing gum helps with their singing ability. Dave Grohl, of the rock band called the Foo Fighters, likes to chew gum before he goes on stage. He says that it keeps his mouth wet and helps keep his vocal chords fresh. Did his mother ever teach him not to sing with his mouth full?
Number six on our list is the fact that chewing gum is favored among Americans more than any other nationality in the world. On average, each American chews over 183 pieces of gum per year, per person. Now that’s a lot of gum. By Comparison, residents of the United Kingdom only chew 124 sticks of gum per person, per year. The country where the least amount of gum is chewed is India. Only 4 sticks of gum are chewed by each person, each year.
Although gum is more popular in the United States than any other country, the U.S is not the country that produces the most gum. The country that produces the most gum in the world is Turkey. Turkey has over sixty gum manufacturers, thus placing them at number seven on our list.
Number eight on our list of fun facts about gum answers the age-old question, “Why is bubble gum usually pink?”. Bubble gum was first made pink by Walter Diemer when he started producing Double Bubble. He used that color because it was the only food coloring that was available at the plant. After it became a success, competitors started copying the color and it has been used ever since.
The number nine position on our list of fun facts about gum revolves around the number of gum varieties that are available today. For years, there were only a handful of different gum varieties. Today, there are over one thousand different types of gum and the list keeps growing all the time. Gum manufactures are constantly revising their formulas to adjust the sweetness, consistency, shape and color of gum. And some of these varieties are pretty wild and include gum flavors such as jalapeno, mint chardonnay and even sushi! Those are varieties sure to leave an aftertaste in your mouth.
Coming in at number ten is the largest bubble ever to be blown. It was 23 inches in diameter, and was blown in July of 1997 by Susan Montgomery Williams of California. Her record can be seen in the 1998 version of the Guiness Book of World Records. And with that, we conclude our list of the Ten Fun Facts about Gum.