Something To Chew On
As long as there have been people, there have been people chewing things. It’s just the way we are. In the Neolithic period, chewing gum made from birch bark tar was favoured. The ancient Greeks gnawed on something called mastic gum. The Aztecs got their gums around tree resin lumps which sounds absolutely deleicious. And Native Americans chewed on the sap of spruce trees. Early American settlers witnessed them doing this and thought, ‘I’ll have a bit of that’. So on this day in 1848, John B. Curtis sold the first commercial chewing gum which he snappily called ‘The State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum’. The first instance of a lump of it being stuck under a table followed soon afterwards.Various varieties were tried on the prospective gum market with paraffin wax, tolu and chicle all foisted on desperate masticators. It wasn’t until the 1960s that US manufacturers settled on the butadiene-based synthetic rubber, that we know, love and chew today.