With over 2 1/2 billion dollars worth of gum consumed per year by Americans alone, the manufacture of chewing gum is a huge business. Often considered a symbol of modern culture, the chewing of gum-like materials has been practiced for thousands of years and is probably one of the oldest past times in the history of humankind. The first commercially manufactured chewing gum, State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum, was available for purchase in 1848. Early manufactured chewing gums did not taste very good and were hard to chew. Black Jack Gum, a licorice gum created by Thomas Adams (b.1818), is the oldest flavored gum that is still available today. Adams’ foray into chewing gum manufacturing began when he was looking for a way to make a cheap synthetic rubber for bicycle and carriage tires. Black Jack gum’s distinctive licorice taste comes from anise.
The Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum – Little Falls, MN, U.S.A.