Maine’s Sweet Secret: The Surprising Origins of Chewing Gum
Residents of Bangor, Maine, have always boasted that the best-selling and internationally-renowned American author of the horror genre, Stephen King, is from their city, with several of his books either set or inspired by Bangor.
That isn’t Bangor’s only claim to fame. Did you know chewing gum traces back to Bangor? True story. A man by the name of John B. Curtis embarked on a venture that would forever change the way people around the world satisfy their oral fixations.
The invention of chewing gum happened back in 1848 when Curtis, a local entrepreneur, was working on a substitute for paraffin wax, which was commonly chewed at the time.
Apparently, it started as a simple product made from the resin of spruce trees, and he saw an opportunity for a marketable product.
He began producing chewing gum in his small store in Bangor, and introduced it to the public under the name “State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum”. As you can imagine, it turned out to be a phenomenon, and he quickly found himself at the forefront of a very profitable creation.
It became the first commercially sold chewing gum in the world, and gave Curtis a market that would eventually expand into a world-wide part of people's lives.
So next time you unwrap a piece of Bubble Yum or Big Red, you can look back on the humble beginnings of what would become a worldwide product that originated in Bangor, Maine, reminding us that sometimes the sweetest success stories have the most unexpected origins.
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