Where Does It Come From?
Records show that ancient Greeks were already chewing on mastich, a natural substance from plants. To create a type of chewing gum called chicle, the ancient Mayans and Aztecs harvested resin from the sapodilla tree, found in Mexico and Central America. They discovered the resin by removing the bark of the tree. Even back then, locals recognized the ability of the gum to act as a breath freshener and to keep hunger away.
When an American inventor, Thomas Adams, got hold of chicle, he thought he could use it in the same way as rubber. This didn’t work, but it did set off the beginning of chewing gum as we know it today. He discovered that boiling and rolling the chicle, resulted in a thicker type of chewing gum. And by the late 19th century, five tons of the gum Adams created was produced daily. With the increase in the demand for this chewing gum, the number of sapodilla trees were soon diminishing. Manufacturers looked into new, synthetic ways of making gum, and by 1980, chicle was no longer used.
The Unique Flavor of Bubble Gum
If you ever wondered why it’s so difficult to describe the flavor of bubble gum, it’s because the flavor does not exist in nature. It’s said that the flavor was created by accident by Walter Diemer in 1928. It’s made from flavoring chemicals (esters) that give you the taste of a punchy fruit mixture. This means it will taste like a combination of banana, strawberry, and some even say cinnamon. Although bubble gum comes in a variety of flavors these days, the classic bubble gum flavor is still the most popular. And you even get bubble gum flavored ice cream and candy!
The Strange Wall of Gum
In Seattle, bubble gum is celebrated in a big way – some might even call it disgusting. If you ever visit the famous Pike Place market, make sure to take a walk down the famous Wall of Gum. In the early 1990s, people standing in line to wait for the Market Theater, would stick their used gum on the wall. As the years went on, the wall became covered with bubble gum, and today it’s one of the most famous tourist spots in Seattle. Locals see it as an example of the city’s unique creativity. You might want to brace yourself if you visit the wall for the first time, it is not for the faint-hearted. The smell can be a bit repulsive, but most find the colors of the wall to be a great work of art. Unfortunately, the high amount of sugars in the gum is damaging to the brick underneath. So in 2015, the Pikes Place Market Preservation and Development Association came in with cleaners and a pressure washer to remove all the gum and give the wall a good clean. However, the wall saw only one clean day. The very next day, locals and tourists were ready with their gum, recreating the gum wall to its former status!
Are you fan of bubble gum? Tell us in the comments below!