The History Of Chewing Gum
The history of chewing gum: from primitive tree sap and grasses to the modern-day multitudes of brand names and flavors, gum has had a colorful and chewable history
Back before Christ was born, prehistoric man was believed to have taste buds developed enough to crave something other than berries and mammal flesh. A sharp grinding tool was used to shave the bark off of certain trees and resins and saps were extracted for a bitter yet satisfying treat. Women would gather clumps of sweet grasses and collect leaves from trees to chew on as well.
However by the time of the great Greek and Roman civilizations, it was practically a requirement for the women to have fresh breath. The shrubby mastic tree that grew on the hillsides of Greece and Turkey contained resin, which was a preferred delicacy for salty mouths. Centuries later various other grasses and tree sap was chewed for pleasure and dental hygiene up until the early 1800’s. North American Indians of the New England states introduced spruce gum to the colonists and interests were high enough to where it could be marketed for profit. By about 1850, the marketing idea was working but something was needed to boost sales and desires. Sweetened parrafin wax succeeded the spruce gum mainly because it was somewhat safer to chew and less toxic to the digestive system. The parrafin wax was chewed typically after dinner until about 1870. The sweet juice extracted from the sapodilla tree that grows in the Central American jungles was used to produce chicle. Chicle is the main ingredient that makes gum what it is today. In fact, it is believed that the ancient Mayans perhaps chewed one of the original pieces of gum containing similar flavors as we now know it today.
By 1939, it was concluded that gum was one of the best treats to relax people and improve stability. The constant chewing was concluded to increase saliva and break down food acids to aid in digestion. However, the great Wrigley Monopoly began many years after gum was already on the market. Wrigley simply added some of his marketing expertise and made the gum business go from a few factories to an empire.