Chew Your Way Through Time

A brief history of Black Jack, Beemans, and Clove

  • Adams Black Jack Gum old time poster

    1869 - Thomas Adams buys chicle, the milky latex of the sapodilla tree, from exiled Mexican President Santa Anna in the hopes of processing it for use as an alternative to rubber.

    1871 - After failing to break into the rubber business, Thomas Adams secures a patent on a gum-making machine and begins producing chicle-based gum as a novelty item with no flavorings or additives.

  • Beemans Original Pepsin Chewing Gum Old Advert

    1884 - Thomas Adams begins adding licorice flavoring to his chicle gum, which he names Adams Black Jack—the first flavored gum in the United States.

    1890s - Edwin Beeman, Cleveland physician, begins making chewing gum with pepsin, which he calls Beemans Gum, as a natural digestive and competitor with Adams Black Jack.

  • Adams Clove Chewing Gum Old Promotional Poster

    Image from Duke Library

    1899 - The American Chicle Company is formed, putting Black Jack and Beemans under one roof.

  • Pile of Clove Gum

    1914 - The American Chicle Company acquires Clove gum, continuing to unite some of the largest chewing gum brands across the country.

  • Abandoned old Chicle factory

    1962 - The American Chicle Company is purchased by the Warner-Lambert Company.

    1978 - Black Jack, Beemans, and Clove sales continue to decline, eventually halting production.

  • Beemans, Black Jack and Clove gums in current packaging

    1983 - Beemans gum appears in The Right Stuff via Chuck Yeager’s famous line: “Hey Ridley, got any Beemans?”

    1985 - All three gums are re-introduced to American consumers by way of Warner-Lambert Company, but sales remain stagnant.

  • Vintage Movie Reel

    1990 - Mark Hunter, the pirate radio teenager played by Christian Slater in Pump Up the Volume, exclusively chews Black Jack gum.

    2008 - Mutt Williams, played by Shia LaBeouf in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, is shown enjoying Beeman’s gum.

  • Beemans, Clove and Blackjack gum stacked with ingredients

    2018 - Black Jack, Beemans, and Clove chewing gums are reunited by Gerrit J. Verburg Co. to ensure that these timeless gums are always available to the public!