Even as a child
William Wrigley Jr. was a precocious little guy. At age 11 he ran
away to New York and supported himself doing odd jobs for a few weeks
before returning home. At age 13 he worked
as a soap salesman for his father's Philadelphia business, and
at age 29 started his own soap business in Chicago with a total of
$32 in his pocket.
an acute sensitivity to his customers' whims, Wrigley used premiums
to boost his sales. When he noticed that a baking soda premium helped
sell his soap, he switched to selling baking soda. And when a chewing
gum premium proved beneficial to his sale of baking soda, he moved
into the chewing gum business. His first gum flavors--Lotta Gum and
Vassar--came out in 1892, followed by Juicy Fruit and Wrigley's Spearmint
the following year. [wrigley_ill.gif; wrigley_anim.gif] A spear-bodied
elf invented by Wrigley to promote his Spearmint chewing gum sometime
before World War I matured into a winking Wrigley gum boy of the 1960s.
Wrigley was a tireless promoter-for example, in 1915, Wrigley promoted
a new brand by sending a piece of it to each of the 1.5 million people
listed in U.S. phone books-and it made him rich enough to branch out.
In 1919, he bought the Chicago Cubs and built them Wrigley Field;
next he bought Catalina Island off the coast of Southern California
and developed it into a lucrative pleasure resort.
a good collection of antique gum wrappers and more history, check