Spotlight – Thomas Adams and the new chew!

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Do you remember what happened to Violet Beauregarde when she ate Willy Wonker’s experimental gum? Watch the video above!

Fortunately real gum chewing experiences are a bit more fun!.

Tune in to how chewing gum is made and learn about the relationship between chewing gum and your teeth in this video.

 

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Have you ever wondered how we came to chew gum? It’s not food. It won’t stop us from being hungry, but millions of people spend chunks of their day chewing the stuff! So who first thought of it and where does it come from?

 

Thomas Adams (May 4, 1818 – February 7, 1905), was a 19th-century American scientist and inventor who is regarded as a founder of the chewing gum industry.

 

Chewing gum was a bit of an accidental invention. Thomas Adams was actually trying to change chicle into synthetic rubber products. Chicle is a milky latex that comes from the Mexican Sapodilla tree. He attempted to make toys, masks, rain boots, and bicycle tyres out of the chicle, but every experiment failed.

 

 

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One day, in about 1869, when he was ready to throw away all the chicle, he visited a drugstore (pharmacy). He heard a little girl ask for chewing gum. After the child had left the store, Mr Thomas Adams enquired into what the little girl had bought. He was told that the gum was made of paraffin wax and called White Mountain. Chewing paraffin wax did not sound pleasant and Thomas came up with a better idea. He popped a piece of surplus chicle stock into his mouth and liked the taste. Chewing away, he had the idea to add flavouring. Shortly after, he opened the world’s first chewing gum factory. In February 1871, Adams New York Gum went on sale in drug stores for a penny apiece.

Thomas Adams was almost certainly not the first person to chew chicle. The ancient Mayans discovered it and native Mexicans also liked to chew chicle but no one had thought of flavouring it or selling it as a type of confectionary until Thomas Adams.

 

 

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Inquiry – Digging Deeper

 

Today there are so many types of gum with a range of purposes. Check some out here:

http://www.chewinggumfacts.com/chewing-gum-facts/chewing-gums-types/

 

Learn more about the sapodilla tree and other products that it can be made into:

http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/kids/species-profiles/sapodilla.

 

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