Have you ever wondered who invented bubble gum, or why it's pink? How do you go about getting the answers to these questions? Easy. Think way, way back, not to prehistoric times but close, 1928.
Popular With Children, Unpopular with Parents and Teachers. The first known bubble gum appeared in 1906, and was a dud. Known as Blibber Blubber, it was sticky, brittle, and insufficiently cohesive. In 1928, an accountant, Walter Diemer, invented an improved version of bubble gum. The only food coloring he had on hand was pink, so for many years, pink was the common color of bubble gums. Diemer arranged to market the bubble gum in Philadelphia candy stores and the product became wildly popular with children. Fleer Company purchased the recipe, and named the product Dubble Bubble. By World War II, the sales of bubble gum in the United States reached about $4.5 million annually. The war caused a shortage of Siamese jelutong, a latex secreted by the jelutong tree. The domestic production of bubble gums needed to be curtailed, but production resumed in the post-war years and surged to new heights. By 2000, children in North America spent about a half billion dollars annually on bubble gums, and used some 40 million pieces daily. Bubble gum made the Guinness Book of World Records, with the largest bubble ever made measuring 22 inches in diameter. The greater the molecular weight of the gum, the stronger is the film, and the larger the bubble that can be blown. On the other hand, increasing the molecular weight or size also tends to make the gum more difficult to chew. A technical breakthrough in 1999 allowed manufacturers to create uniquely textured bubble gum by using soft candy or toffee manufacturing equipment. The resulting bubble gum is similar to chewy candy, but lacking the stickiness. In the late 1970s, popular interactive candies for children were Pop Rocks and Space Dust. As children chewed these candies, tiny bubbles of pressurized carbon dioxide popped and...
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