May
18
2009

Who invented Bubblegum

For thousands of years people around the world have been chewing gum, the ancient Greeks flavored gum they got from the mastic tree, while Mayan people chewed gum they got from the sapodilla tree, but of course chewing gum in the US comes directly from the habit of native American Indians who used to chew the sap of spruce trees, which by the mid 1800s had been commercialized and was growing in popularity.

Competing inventors for the claim of first to produce bubblegum Frank Fleer of the Fleer Chewing Gum Company, and Peter Meijer of the Meijer Company are both believed to have created their bubblegum inventions in 1906. Unfortunately both recipes were unsuitable, being too sticky and never went to market though Fleer named his recipe Blibber-Blubber. Their publicity however started a craze with people all of the US wanting bubblegum and leading to many fraudsters popping up who claimed to have a gum that would blow bubbles.

bubblegum Who invented Bubblegum

In 1924 a company based in Shelby, Ohio marketed the first bubblegum nationally which they called Blow Gum, a product which is no longer available but in its day was very popular amongst children who wanted to collect the trading cards packaged with Blow Gum. Legend has it that bubblegum from the Shelby Gum Company never really blew very big bubbles, it was mostly only capable of being popped outside the lips.

The first true bubblegum available is the gum made by the Fleer Chewing Gum Company who finally perfected their recipe in 1928 and marketed it as Dubble Bubble. According to Fleer company history, the recipe for bubblegum was invented by one of the company’s accountants, Walter Diemer who enjoyed experimenting with gum recipes in his spare time.

Controversy surrounds the claim that Walter Diemer is the inventor of bubblegum since no known patents under his name exist, whereas patents for enhancing chewing gum exist from 1928 and 1930 submitted by Gilbert Mustin, the president of Fleer at that time. Research amongst patent experts suggests these patents don’t actually describe bubblegum, but instead just a process for packaging chewing gum.

The first patent ever issued by the US Patent Office to relate specifically to bubblegum was to a Katie Wilcox in 1936 and described a recipe for bubblegum which she called ‘bubble chewing gum’ in her application, but there is no record if her gum was ever produced.

From the early 1930s the Fleer company would organize regular bubble blowing competitions which often ended in contestants having gum stuck all over their faces. In 1975 the LifeSavers company corrected this with their invention of soft bubblegum known as Bubble Yum that could be easily peeled off the face and hands if a bubble burst. Soon after, Hubba Bubba, and Bubbilicious entered the market and redefined how bubbles are blown with bubblegum.

About the Author:

Peter is the founder of WhoGuides - The History Website. He's always happy to share his passion for history. Use the contact form if you want to get in touch with him.

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