the turn of the century, the chewing public was gobbling up
new products such as Frank V. Canning's "dental gum"
and Henry Fleer's candy-coated Chiclets. Henry's brother Frank
began to work on a gum elastic enough to blow into bubbles.
The first bubble gum, Blibber-Blubber, came along in 1906, but
never made it to market--it was so sticky that the only way
to remove it from skin was with vigorous scrubbing and turpentine.
Diemer, a Fleer employee, achieved a breakthrough in August,
and he wasn't even a chemist. Diemer was working as
Fleer's accountant when he discovered, through trial and error,
the magic mix of ingredients-stiff enough to get off skin, but
flexible enough to blow. Bubble gum even owes it characteristic
pink hue to Diemer's serendipity, pink being the only coloring
left on the shelf when he mixed up his first successful batch.
Not long after its introduction, Fleer's Dubble Bubble became
the bestselling penny candy in the United States. Fleer sold
the Chiclet business in 1909 (Chiclets are now made by Warner-Lambert),
but Dubble Bubble is still made at the Fleer plant in Philadelphia.