Gumball History


A Gumball Machine is a type of vending machine that for a small fee dispenses gumballs and or candy. Most gumball machines consist of a clear container made of plastics or glass. The container is filled with gumballs or candy and sits on top of a metal base that contains a coin mechanism. The customer places a quarter in the coin mechanism, turns the handle, the coin is deposited in the machine and the gumball is dispensed. Bulk vending machines are a specific type of commercial vending machine that vends everything from candy, gumballs to bouncy balls, capsule items such as small toys and jewelry. These machines typically accept 1 quarter per vend. Some bulk candy machines can also be set for two, three quarters or one dollar vend.

HISTORY OF GUMBALL MACHINE/VENDING MACHINES Did you know that holy water was once vended? The first known vending operation started way back in Egypt in 215BC. It is thought the Greek mathematician Hero invented a machine to vend holy water in Egyptian Temples. Since then there have been many different variations on the vending machine. During the early 1880’s the first commercial coin operated vending machines were introduced in Europe to sell postcards and books. Vending machines started to become universal selling everything from stamps, postcards, books, cigars, candy and gum. There was even a coin operated restaurant in Philadelphia, “Horn & Hardart”. 1 cent Gumball machines first became popular in the United States in the early 1900’s. The machines at the time dispensed gumballs or peanuts. At around this same time vending machines were gaining popularity. In 1871 Thomas Adams patented the vending machine in the U.S. to dispense gum. In 1888 he put the vending machines on the New York City train platforms which dispensed his chicle chew stick gum. Newer vending machines have taken an old idea and made it new again by offering everything from ice cream, sandwiches, candy and pop.

History of Gumballs/ Chewing Gum

• The ancient Greeks chewed mastic - a chewing gum made from the resin of the mastic tree.

• The ancient Mayans chewed chicle which is the sap from the sapodilla tree.

• North American Indians chewed the sap from spruce trees and passed the habit along to the settlers.

• Early American settlers made a chewing gum from spruce sap and beeswax.

• In 1848, John B. Curtis made and sold the first commercial chewing gum called the State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum.

• In 1850, Curtis started selling flavored paraffin gums becoming more popular than spruce gums.

• On December 28 1869, William Finley Semple became the first person to patent a chewing gum - U.S patent #98,304.

• In 1869, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna introduced Thomas Adams to chicle.

• In 1871, Thomas Adams patented a machine for the manufacture of gum.

• In 1880, John Colgan invented a way to make chewing gum taste better for a longer period of time while being chewed.

• By 1888, an Adams' chewing gum called Tutti-Frutti became the first chew to be sold in a vending machine. The machines were located in a New York City subway station.

• In 1899, Dentyne gum was created by New York druggist Franklin V. Canning.

• In 1906, Frank Fleer invented the first bubble gum called Blibber-Blubber gum. However, the bubble blowing chew was never sold.

• In 1914, Wrigley Doublemint brand was created. William Wrigley, Jr. and Henry Fleer were responsible for adding the popular mint and fruit extracts to a chicle chewing gum.

• In 1928, an employee of the Frank H. Fleer Company, Walter Diemer invented the successful pink colored Double Bubble, bubble gum. The very first bubble gum was invented by Frank Henry Fleer in 1906. He called it Blibber-Blubber. Fleer's recipe was later perfected by Walter Diemer, who called his product Double Bubble.

Thomas Adams

Thomas Adams first tried to change chicle into synthetic rubber products, before making a chewing gum. Thomas Adams attempted to make toys, masks, rain boots, and bicycle tires out of the chicle from Mexican sapodilla trees, but every experiment failed. One day in 1869, he popped a piece of surplus stock into his mouth and liked the taste. Chewing away, he had the idea to add flavoring to the chicle. 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 tried numerous trades before becoming a photographer during the 1860's. During that time, General Antonio de Santa Anna went into exile from Mexico and boarded with Thomas Adams in his Staten Island home. Santa Anna suggested that the unsuccessful but inventive photographer experiment with chicle from Mexico. Santa Anna felt that chicle could be used to make a synthetic rubber tire; and he had friends in Mexico who would be able to supply the product cheaply to Adams.

The following is an extract from "The Encyclopedia of New York City" Edited by Kenneth T. Jackson Yale University Press, 1996, ISBN 0-300-05536-6

...chewing gum manufacturers, formed as Adams Sons and Company in 1876 by the glass merchant Thomas Adams (1818-1905) and his two sons. As a result of experiments in a warehouse of Front Street, Adams made chewing gum that had chicle as an ingredient, large quantities of which had been made available to him by General Antonio de Santa Anna of Mexico, who was in exile in Staten Island and at whose instigation Thomas Adams had tried to use the chicle to make rubber. Thomas Adams sold the gum with the slogan "Adams' New York Gum No. 1 -- Snapping and Stretching." The firm was the nation's most prosperous chewing gum company by the end of the century: it built a monopoly in 1899 by merging with the six largest and best-known chewing gum manufacturers in the United States and Canada, and achieved great success as the maker of Chiclets.

The following is a quote from a 1944 speech given by Thomas Jr.'s son Horatio at a manager's banquet for the American Chicle Company.

"...after about a year's work of blending chicle with rubber, the experiments were regarded as a failure; consequently Mr Thomas Adams intended to throw the remaining lot into the East River. But it happened that before this was done, Thomas Adams went into a drugstore at the corner. While he was there, a little girl came into the shop and asked for a chewing gum for one penny. It was known to Mr. Thomas Adams that chicle, which he had tried unsuccessfully to vulcanize as a rubber substitute, had been used as a chewing gum by the natives of Mexico for many years. So the idea struck him that perhaps they could use the chicle he wanted to throw away for the production of chewing gum and so salvage the lot in the storage. After the child had left the store, Mr Thomas Adams asked the druggist what kind of chewing gum the little girl had bought. He was told that it was made of paraffin wax and called White Mountain. When he asked the man if he would be willing to try an entirely different kind of gum, the druggist agreed. When Mr. Thomas Adams arrived home that night, he spoke to his son, Tom Jr., my father, about his idea. Junior was very much impressed, and suggested that they make up a few boxes of chicle chewing gum and give it a name and a label. He offered to take it out on one of his trips (he was a salesman in wholesale tailors' trimmings and traveled as far west as the Mississippi). They decided on the name of Adams New York No. 1. It was made of pure chicle gum without any flavor. It was made in little penny sticks and wrapped in various colored tissue papers. The retail value of the box, I believe, was one dollar. On the cover of the box was a picture of City Hall, New York, in color."

In 1888, an Thomas Adams' chewing gum called Tutti-Frutti became the first gum to be sold in a vending machine. The machines were located in a New York City subway station.

More info on the history of chewing gum

Research into the history of chewing gum indicates that the custom may not be as exclusively American as we have always thought it to be, although the U.S. does lead the world in total gum consumption.

For example, the ancient Greeks were known to be fond of a gummy substance named mastiche, derived from the resin of the mastic tree. In fact, Dioscorides, a Greek physician and medical botanist of the First Century, refers to the "curative powers" of the mastic in his writing.

Chewing was not a custom confined solely to ancient Greece, for today many Greeks and Middle Easterners enjoy chewing mastic resin, combined with beeswax, a softening agent. It may quite literally be said that mastiche is the "chew" of the Greeks, since the root "mastichan," in Greek means "to chew."

The Mayans were not too far behind the Greeks in developing the custom of chewing gum. Research shows that in about the Second Century, this large tribe of Central American Indians practiced the art of chewing what was later to be known as "chicle"- the coagulated sap of the Sapodilla tree.

Then, in about the year 800, the Mayan civilization met its end for reasons still largely unknown, virtually the only Mayan practice retained intact was that of chewing gum. The temples, the roads, the calendar, the great cities - all these were abandoned. But chewing gum remained. Its use continued among the descendants of the Mayans at least as late as the Nineteenth Century.

Meanwhile, the American Indians of New England were also chewing gum - but made from the resin of spruce trees. From the beginning in America, the custom of chewing gum grew, until during the early Nineteenth Century, the first gum products, lumps of spruce gum, were sold commercially.

Spruce gum continued to be sold, being replaced gradually by paraffin wax gum. Paraffin gum unfortunately required the heat and moisture of the mouth to render it suitable for chewing, and was therefore replaced as a base of all "regular" gums by other substances. Sweetened and flavored paraffin wax is still used in the production of novelty chewing products. Refined paraffin waxes are also used as ingredients of chewing gum bases.

Modern day gum products actually appeared in 1869, when the famous 'Mexican general, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, was searching for a substitute for rubber. He thought that perhaps chicle would fit the purpose. Santa Anna contacted American inventor Thomas Adams, who experimented with chicle but found it unsuitable as a rubber base.

One day, however, Adams noticed a girl chewing paraffin-based gum and remembered that General Santa Anna had, in the course of their meeting, chewed the very substance which he was trying to turn into rubber. The inventor, realizing that chicle was superior to all other gum bases then available, produced some chicle-based gum and persuaded a local druggist to carry it. This rediscovery of what the Mayans had known over one thousand years earlier revolutionized the manufacture of chewing gum.

Other trees also contribute or have contributed their latex to the chewing gum industry. Some of the latex used is leche, caspi and sorva, found in the Amazon Valley; nispero and tunu, from Central America; and jelutong, found in Indonesia, Malaya, and British Borneo.

Refined pine tree resins from our own southeast coastal states also appear often as ingredients. Man-made resins and waxes have lately been used to greater degrees as the search continues for an even more enjoyable chew. Chicle, one of the early chewing products, is still produced commercially from the red and white Sapodilla trees which grow in the rain forests of Central and South America. These trees, concentrated most heavily in the Yucatan Peninsula, frequently reach heights of 100 feet or more, and develop with great hardness and density. The Sapodillas (Achras Sapota) are not tapped for their latex until they are at least 20 to 25 years old. Each tapping, made with a series of cross cuts, leading to a center channel - in the form of a herringbone - yields only 21/2 pounds of gum over a period of six hours. Trees are tapped only once in three or four years.

Although chicle and other natural gums are still utilized by the chewing gum industry, some, because of ever-increasing demand, are being extended by man-made materials. These have proven beneficial in providing the high consistency of chewing quality that the industry prides itself for.

Corn syrup, sugar, and flavoring agents are later added to the gum base in the gum-making process. These agents are of the highest quality, produced under spotless, rigidly controlled laboratory conditions.

How are the base, sugar, flavoring and synthetic materials combined to make the various kinds of chewing gums one buys at candy stores and other retail outlets? Most chewing gums are manufactured in the same manner up to a certain point. The gum base is melted in large, steam-jacketed kettles which heat it to about 240 degrees F. At this point it achieves the consistency of thick maple syrup. This "syrup" is then filtered through fine mesh screens, clarified in a centrifuge, and further filtered through very fine vacuum strainers. Throughout the process, the melted gum base is kept hot. The "mixers" now come into play. These are huge vats capable of holding up to 2,000 pounds each, and are equipped with slowly revolving blades. The first additions take place in these mixers. Powdered sugar, whose particle size has a definite effect on the brittleness or flexibility of the final product, is added. So is corn syrup, or glucose, which keeps the gum moist and pleasant to chew, and helps the sugar to combine easily with the gum base. Also softeners, which further retain moisture in the gum to insure a flexible, resilient chew; finally, either natural or artificial flavoring, whichever is desired, and to whatever taste, is added to the gum base in the huge mixing vats, as the giant blades slowly turn.

The blended gum then passes out of the mixers onto cooling belts and is bathed in currents of cool air to reduce its temperature. After this it moves to the extruders, machines which manipulate it to make it much smoother and finer in texture. From the extruders, the gum passes to a series of giant rollers which make up the "sheet-rolling machine." There, the gum is flattened into thinner and thinner sheets, the final thickness determined by the type of gum it is to be. Stick gum comes from the thinnest sheets; candy-coated gum, dating back to 1890, from a thicker sheet; and bubble or ball gum, from the thickest sheet of all. The stick gum passes into the cutting and scoring machines, where it is cut into smaller sheets, each scored in a single-stick pattern. The gum destined for candy coating is scored into little square or oblong pellets, and broken up by machine. For ball gum, the gum is scored or extruded into a pencil shape, and then run through specialized forming machines to form a ball shape.

The machines shaping and wrapping bubble gum, first sold in 1906, may be set for any one of a variety of shapes: stick, candy-coated, ball, pencil, kiss, or square. When scored stick gum emerges from the rollers, it has also been sprinkled with pure powered sugar. The gum is then put aside to "set'' in an air-conditioned room for at least 48 hours. The candy-coated gum is, after a 24-to-48 hour storage period, sometimes undercoated to help the coating adhere more firmly, then coated with candy in this case, pure, liquid sugar. The gum is then placed into pans where it is whirled with beeswax or another wax product. This process provides candy-coated chewing gum with its characteristic sheen. Chewing gum comes in an enormous variety of packages. Among them are the multiple-stick packs, the box-type of pack for candy-coated pellet gum, individually wrapped pieces of bubble gum, and the glass vending machines in which ball gum is revealed, unwrapped. The important thing about packaging is that it takes place under immaculate conditions as does the rest of the manufacturing process, so that the product reaches the consumer with all of its quality and purity fully protected.

For many years the custom of chewing gum has not only continued, but expanded among the populations of the world. This is probably because the chewing of gum is fun. It tastes good and continuously releases its pleasant flavor sensation over a long period of time with the total ingestion of only approximately 5 to 10 calories per portion.

The chewing gum industry guards the purity and integrity of its products and annually invests a substantial share of its income in the thorough investigation of every ingredient and aspect of manufacture, as well as in research and development. These manufacturers want their customers to continue enjoying one of the finest food products in the world.
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