Who invented chewing gum?
In 2007 in Finland, an archaeology student found a 5,000-year-old piece of ABC (already been chewed) gum made of birch bark tar from a tree. People who lived during the Neolithic period (beginning about 9,500 B.C.) chewed gum as a way to treat gum infections.
The ancient Greeks chewed a sticky, stringy substance from the bark of mastic trees, which are found in Greece. Another ancient people called the Mayans, who lived in Mexico and Central America, chewed a natural substance called chicle from the bark of sapodilla trees and are said to have mixed it with tar and insect grease. American Indians introduced the Colonists to chewing a gummy substance that comes from spruce trees.
It seems that everyone throughout history was interested in minty, fresh breath.
Who invented gum as we know it today is tough to say. A lot of people had a hand in its development. Businessman John Curtis from Maine is credited as the first to sell gum in 1848. Although he had a hard time initially, his product eventually took off, and he had to open a big factory to keep up with demand.
According to the Ohio Historical Society, Amos Tyler, from Ohio, was the first to patent gum in 1869. That means that no one else could steal his recipe, which included olive oil. But he never sold his gum in big quantities. Another man who got into the gum mix was an Ohio dentist, William Semple, whose recipe included charcoal. He thought that gum could help clean people's teeth and strengthen their jaws. He never sold much of his gum, either.
Then in the late 1800s, inventor Thomas Adams was trying to make a cheaper rubber using chicle (which translates to "sticky stuff"). Luckily for us, that didn't work out, and instead he started making gum, just like the Mayans. He sold his product for a penny a piece in drugstores, and gum as we know it today was born -- although good luck getting a piece of gum for a penny.