Chewing Gum

From Ohio History Central

On July 27, 1869, Amos Tyler received the first patent in the United States for chewing gum. Although chewing gum had existed for thousands of years, Tyler, a resident of Toledo, Ohio, was the first person to patent it in the United States. Tyler's gum consisted of white rosin and olive oil, which he heated and mixed thoroughly. After the mixture cooled, it had a white color. Then, Tyler cut his product into sticks and packaged each strip individually. There is no evidence that Tyler ever sold his gum commercially, although he probably at least had a local market for it in Toledo.

Five months after Tyler received his patent, William Finley Semple received his own patent for chewing gum. Many historians credit Semple with receiving the first patent in the United States of America for chewing gum on December 28, 1869. This claim is false, as Tyler patented chewing gum on July 27, 1869.

A doctor in Mount Vernon, Ohio, Semple made his chewing gum out of rubber. He added things like powdered licorice root and charcoal, believing that these items would help scrub the teeth, making them cleaner. He also contended that chewing gum would strengthen a person's jaw muscles. There is no evidence that Semple ever sold his gum commercially, although he probably at least had a local market for it in Mount Vernon.

Since the late nineteenth century, the chewing gum industry has continued to grow and prosper. In 2000, American citizens chewed enough gum for the total amount to equal two hundred sticks per person residing in the United States.

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