Thomas Adams

Chewing gum that would eventually become popular was created by New York inventor Thomas Adams.  Adams met with Mexican expatriate Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana, the same Santa Ana who had besieged the Alamo, in 1857 to discuss creating low-priced rubber from chicle. 10.  If Adams was successful, he and Santa Ana would become rich and Santa Ana could get back in power, but Adams failed to produce anything acceptable. 

Adams then visited a neighborhood drugstore and noticed a young girl chewing the spruce gum marketed by John Bacon Curtis.  He recalled that the Mexicans had been chewing the chicle for years and the product he was creating could be chewed as well.  Adams created the first chicle-based chewing gum in 1859.  He molded the product into small balls and sold them to the local drugstore. 11.  The gum had instant popularity.  Adams modified the product to be in small strips and wrapped in colorful paper, and he marketed it as “Adams New York No. 1—Snapping and Stretching.”12.  Adams also experimented with adding flavors to his gum, including sugar, mint, and licorice. 13.  A version of his licorice flavor, Black Jack gum, can still be purchased today.

The packaging for the current version of Adams’ licorice gum.  Black Jack gum

Thomas Adams worked on various ways to market his product, and one of the most successful and well-known results of this tinkering was the Vending Machine.  These machines were installed on the train platforms in New York City and filled with tutti-frutti-flavored gumballs.

Comments are closed.