Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Remember the Alamo! And Beeman's, and Black Jack, and....

Modern chewing gum can be credited to, of all people, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, nemesis of the Alamo defenders and several times President of Mexico. Seems that in 1869 he was living in Staten Island(!) and suggested that his host, who was a photographer and inventor, should try to commercialize Mexican chicle as an alternative to rubber. Chicle didn't work for tires or gloves, but the inventor (Thomas Adams) remembered that Santa Ana liked to chew chicle, and modern chewing gum was born. Older forms of gum had often been based on paraffin wax. Yuck! Adams went on to add sarsaparilla, licorice (Black Jack), then mint and other flavors. The rest, as they say, is history.


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