gum as we know it today came from Mexico soon after the Civil
War. General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana, famous for leading
the siege on the Alamo, brought with him to New York from his
native Mexico a quantity of chicle, the dried sap of the sapodilla
tree. Legend has it that it was Santa Ana's chewing habit that
gave inventor Thomas Adams. Sr. the idea of selling chicle in
the United States.
In 1871 Adams received the first patent on a gum-making machine
and began mass producing a chicle-based gum. His first gum ("Snapping
and Stretching") was pure chicle with no flavoring, but sold
well enough to encourage Adams in his plans. He began to experiment
with flavorings, beginning with sarsaparilla. In 1884, he began
adding a licorice flavoring and called his invention Adams'
Black Jack, the first flavored gum in America. Adams' Pepsin
Tutti-Frutti chewing gum followed in 1890. Black Jack was sold
into well the 1970s, when production was halted because of slow
sales. Adams eventually became part of the American Chicle Company.
was originally invented in 1898 as a cure for heartburn. Clove
Gum got a boost during Prohibition when it was handed out as
a breath freshener in illegal liquor houses.
The Warner-Lambert Pharmaceutical Company reintroduced the 100-year-old
Black Jack, Beemans, and Clove gums in 1986 as a part of their
"Nostalgia Gum program."