Chewing gum is a soft, cohesive substance designed to be chewed without being swallowed. Humans have used chewing gum in some form for at least 100,000 years. Most chewing gums are considered polymers. Longer polymers can produce larger bubbles due to increased intermolecular forces.
Chewing gum in many forms has existed since the Neolithic period. 6,000-year-old chewing gum made from birch bark tar, with tooth imprints, has been found in Finland. The tar from which the gums were made is believed to have antiseptic properties and other medicinal benefits. The ancient Aztecs used chicle, a natural tree gum, as a base for making a gum-like substance and to stick objects together in everyday use. Forms of chewing gums were also chewed in Ancient Greece, mastic gum made from the resin of the mastic tree. Many other cultures have chewed gum-like substances made from plants, grasses and resins.
The American Indians chewed resin made from the sap of spruce trees. The New England settlers picked up this practice and, in 1848, John b. Curtis developed and the first commercial chewing gum called The State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum. Around 1850, a gum made from paraffin wax was developed and soon exceeded the spruce gum in popularity. William Semple filed an early patent on chewing gum this date in 1869.
The first flavored chewing gum was created in the 1860s by John Colgan, a Louisville, Kentucky pharmacist. Colgan mixed with powdered sugar the aromatic flavoring tolu, a powder obtained from an extract of the balsam tree, creating small sticks of flavored chewing gum he named “Taffy Tolu.” Colgan also led the way in the manufacturing and packaging of chicle-based chewing gum derived from a tropical evergreen tree. He licensed a patent for automatically cutting chips of chewing gum from larger sticks and a patent for automatically cutting wrappers for sticks of chewing gum.
Modern chewing gum was first developed in the 1860s when chicle was brought from Mexico by the former President, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana to New York, where he gave it to Thomas Adams for use as a rubber substitute. Chicle did not succeed as a replacement for rubber, but as a gum, which was cut into strips and marketed as Adams New York Chewing Gum in 1871, Black Jack (1884) and Chiclets 1899) and soon dominated the market.
Synthetic gums were first introduced to the U.S. after chicle no longer satisfied the needs of making good chewing gum. By the 1960s, US manufacturers had switched to butadiene-based synthetic rubber as it was cheaper to manufacture. (from Wikipedia and cute-calendar.com)