Chewing Gum traces are also found in the Maya civilization!

Chewing Gum

We are all familiar with chewing gum. It is especially popular among children. However, in Europe or modern countries, it is a great food to pass the time.
Players often chew gum to keep their throats from drying out while playing or practicing. There have also been several reports of picking up discarded chewing gum of celebrities and selling it at auction for huge sums. This dish has an interesting history.

Exploring the history of chewing gum

History says that this gum has been used since ancient times. Nine thousand years ago, the inhabitants of northern Europe chewed the bark of a type of tree. According to the researchers, there are two possible reasons why they chewed tree bark at that time.

One is that they get a different taste by chewing it, another is that they did it to cure toothache. Evidence of chewing gum can also be found in the ancient Maya civilization of the Americas. The Maya civilization used to chew the sap that was produced from the sapodilla tree. Usually the Mayans did this to satisfy their hunger or quench their thirst. Later, the famous Aztec civilization of Mexico also consumed chewing gum produced from the sapodilla tree.

Although there is no evidence of any special rules for chewing gum, the Aztec civilization had specific rules for this. Children and unmarried women could chew in public. In the case of married women and widows, the rule was to enjoy private property. They used to do this to remove bad breath. Adult men, on the other hand, were strictly forbidden to chew in secret. Their purpose was to clean the teeth.

In North America, sorghums of the pine-like ‘spruce tree’ were used to chew as the cud. Later, when the Europeans colonized there, they also continued the chewing culture. A man named John Curtis started the gum industry for the first time around 1840 for commercial purposes.

He collected sap from spruce trees and boiled it in hot water. Then the juice was squeezed and cut as needed. After being cut into small pieces, they were coated with flour made from corn, so that when many were placed together, they would not stick to each other. The taste of the gum made in this way was not very attractive. As a result, he and subsequent gum manufacturers decided to add various ingredients, including paraffin oil.

Exiled Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna meets a man named Thomas Adams of New York. Chewing gum ‘cheek’ made from the extract of the sapodilla plant, which was in possession of the exiled president, came to the attention of Thomas Adams.

The two of them did several experiments with the ‘chicle’. President-in-exile Lopez wanted to promote chewing gum in America as an alternative to rubber. But they were disappointed as they did not get the desired results in the exams.

Thomas Adams saw that there was good potential for this gum if it was used to make high-quality chewing gum. Around 1880, he created a company that supplied chewing gum made from chicle throughout America.

The chewing gum market continued to grow in the 20th century. A man named William Wrigley Jr. was a soap marketer in Philadelphia, America. He started offering various perks to sellers for marketing his products. For example, if a seller bought a certain amount of soap at wholesale rates, he would give several cans of baking powder free.

Later it was seen that baking powder is selling more than soap in the market. He then started marketing baking powder instead of soap, and as an added bonus, he would give some free packets of chewing gum to sellers.

At one stage there was a huge demand for this gum in the market. Around 1893 he founded two chewing gum companies (Juicy Fruit and Wrigley’s Spearmint). He spent a lot of money advertising chewing gum. This makes him one of the richest men in America.

Meanwhile, since 1885, a man named Frank Fleer had his own company producing gum. He wanted to sell something different from the chewing gum that his rival companies were selling. In 1906, he introduced bubble gum, which he named ‘Blibber-Blubber’ but it failed to create such a stir.

In 1928, Walter Diemer, an employee of Frank Fleer’s company, developed a more advanced technique for making bubble gum. The bubble gum technique invented by Walter Diemer is called ‘Dubble Bubble’. This bubble gum managed to create a stir in the market. Since then various companies have been producing chewing gum in different flavors and colors.

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Author: Sadia Khanam Tonni

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