Bubble Gum: A Brief History

People have been chewing gum since the beginning of time.

Neanderthals chewed on resin (sticky sap) from the birch tree to help with toothaches and to clean their teeth (scientists think it might have been ham flavored; ick). The ancient Greeks chewed another kind of tree resin called mastiche. And the Mayans chewed sap from the sapodilla tree called chicle. Name the civilization and there’s a pretty good chance some sort of gum-like substance was chewed.

Modern chewing gum came into existence in the mid-1800’s –– still chewy chicle at that point but as soon as flavor and sugar were added, things began to change. Throw in some peppermint to keep the flavor and chewing gum really took off. In 1928, a recipe for the first commercial bubble gum (Dubble Bubble) was invented. The gum was pink ––bubble gum pink –– as it was the only color of dye on hand.

Fast forward to today and you have people around the globe chomping on gum and competing for the biggest bubble blown. The world record, by the way, stands at a diameter of 50.8 centimeters (20 inches). That’s bigger than your head. Chew on that.

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