National Chewing Gum Day is observed annually on September 30.
Humans have used chewing gum for over 5,000 years. They may have chewed it for enjoyment, to stave off hunger or to freshen their breath much like we do today. The sources used to make gum resulted in minty and sweet chewable globs of wax or sap resin that fulfilled that human urge to gnaw. It was unlikely they were capable of producing glossy, pink bubbles worthy of jealous pokes from siblings. However, waking up with it stuck in your hair was still a possibility.
Various forms of chewing gum have existed since the Neolithic period. In 2007, a British archaeology student discovered a 5,000-year-old piece of chewing gum which was made from bark tar with tooth imprints in it. Presumed to be the oldest piece of chewing gum, it was found in Kierikki, Yli-li, Finland. Made from bark tar, the gum was believed to have antiseptic properties and other medicinal advantages.
- Many other cultures chewed gum made from the resin of the mastic tree, from plants, grasses, and other resins.
- In 1848, John B. Curtis developed and sold the first commercial chewing gum which was called “The State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum”.
- Around 1850, a gum made from paraffin wax was developed and surpassed the spruce gum in popularity.
- December 28, 1869, William Semple filed an early patent on chewing gum, patent number 98,304.
- Studies show chewing gum helps improve memory, reduce stress and increase alertness.
- Chewing sugar-free gum improves overall oral hygiene while also helping to curb cravings and improving digestion.
- Kids in North America spend approximately half a billion dollars on bubble gum every year.
- The largest piece of gum ever was equivalent to 10,000 pieces of chewing gum!
- Scientists found a 9,000-year-old wad of chewing gum in Sweden.
- In Africa, it was said that various tribes accepted large quantities of bubble gum in lieu of sheep and oxen, as payment for a wife.
- Another cool fact is that if your popped bubble gets stuck in your hair, you can remove it by rubbing the piece stuck with peanut butter.
- By the 1940s, bubble gum had become so popular that it was included in the ration kits given to U.S. soldiers.
- According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest bubble ever blown measured 23 inches in diameter!