Before Black Jack, Beemans, and Clove, “gum” was barely recognizable compared to what you buy and chew today. The first versions of chewing gum were sold in small lumps, instead of sticks, with no added flavorings of any kind. In fact, the earliest forms of chewing gum weren’t even that easy to chew—much less actually enjoy.
Thankfully, Thomas Adams entered the chewing gum business in the late 1800s, adding flavors, slicing the gum into sticks, and spending time and money to promote his chewing gums to average American citizens. From there, Black Jack, Beemans, and Clove would go on to dominate the chewing gum market for quite some time, finding new ways to redefine gum and stand out from the crowd well into the 1950s and 1960s.
- The first gum to enter pop culture with celebrity aviators of the 40s and 50s.
- One of the first gums associated with a specific celebrity—superstar pilot Chuck Yeager.
- Became one of the favorite gums of early Hollywood, showing up often on the silver screen.
- Became the first flavored gum in 1884.
- Offered gum in sticks, instead of lumps, starting in the 1880s.
- Established a packaging style for gum that is still used today.
- Established red packaging that is now used by many other cinnamon- and spice-based gums.
- Introduced the “clove and allspice” flavor profile that is now standard.
Chew your way through our brief history timeline here.