Recreational chewing:
A retrospective

Blackjacks and Beemans:

The origins of chicline

Blibber-Blubber Doubble Bubble

Workin' on the Chain Gang

Gum Facts
(that smack of the truth)

Gumball Machine

The irrepressible Wrigley

Pick 'n Chews Pilgrimages

Tom and Becky: A love story

Sticky Questions — a quiz

The irrepressible Wrigley

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.

With 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.

For a good collection of antique gum wrappers and more history, check out:

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