Discovering the mysterious and iconic fruity taste of chewing gum (bubble gum), invented at the end of the 19th century by Thomas Adams
Chewing gum is a unique confectionery product with an unmistakable taste, loved and recognizable all over the world, albeit in continuous evolution. Yet few know that the iconic fruity taste of chewing gum, or bubble gum, was patented later than their birth and production, and was conceived in the late nineteenth century by the American scientist Thomas Adams.
But what does this taste really know, so loved by generations and generations of consumers?
Birth and evolution of chewing gum
Anyone who has come across at least once in the fascinating birth and history of chewing gum will certainly know that the earliest records date back to the Maya, who in fact used to chew a natural gum made from a tropical plant (Manilkara chicle) typical of Central America. The invention of chewing gum dates back to 1869, when the dentist William Semple patented a rather tasteless first version of the known chewable candy, then thought more for hygienic use than for food.
From tasteless rubber balls to fruity bubble gums
The merit of the first real American chewing gum with added flavor goes instead to the scientist and inventor Thomas Adams; the first two tastes he launched were the strong and long-lasting licorice and, above all, a pleasant fruity blend called “all fruits“. This last recipe has represented a turning point in the history of bubble gum and consists of a synthetic replica of the taste of fruit, which is a mixture of chemicals and syrups that are mostly reminiscent of banana, strawberry, and cherry.
These sweet colorful balls were officially marketed in the late 1800s, through the American Chicle Company, the first of many chewing gum companies that saw the light at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. If the figure of Adams was decisive for the first experimentation of rubber in terms of flavors and for the opening of the first bubble gum company in history, the decisive step forward was made by the Fleer Corporation, founded in 1885. After the launch of the first chewing gum called Blibber-Blubber, the company worked hard to create a unique product with a new formula and a perfect consistency. The bubble gum they invented, the Dubble Bubble, was a resounding success, thanks not only to the taste and aroma but also to the elastic consistency that allowed consumers to make the famous “bubbles”.
Not only that, but the color was also changing. Among the ingredients of Dubble Bubble, in fact, a pink food coloring appeared for the first time, much more appetizing than the previous gray, still, today recognized as the standard color of the beloved chewing gum.
Since then the fruity formula of the tires would have undergone countless modifications and variations, just think of the launch in the 1950s of the sugar-free chewing gum (often sweetened with aspartame or xylitol) or that, starting from the 60s up to the present day, of the addition of new additives and increasingly original dyes.