30 Bubble Gum Facts That Will Blow Your Mind
It's hard to find anyone who's never tried to blow a gum bubble at least once. Even if some people are better at it than others, just trying is a lot of fun.
But for as popular as this sweet treat is, there are plenty of bubble gum facts the average person doesn't know. These are the tastiest tidbits about gum and bubblegum flavoring.
Humans Have Been Chewing Gum for Thousands of Years
The oldest record of gum chewing began upward of 9,000 years ago with the ancient Mayans.
This civilization enjoyed chewing on a gum-like substance called chicle, derived from the sap of the sapodilla tree. The material was soft and stretchy, not too dissimilar in texture from the stuff we enjoy today.
Chicle was used to either quench thirst or fight off hunger.
Sugary Bubble Gum Exists Because of a Dentist
Modern gum — think Hubba Bubba and Bazooka brands — was invented by a dentist named William Finley Semple. The Mount Vernon, Ohio, native is popularly known as the first person to patent chewing gum. He hoped the sticky stuff would help people clean their teeth.
Little did he know the gum industry would add all the sugar it could, making this sweet treat a pain for his industry.
Bubble Gum Itself Was Invented by an Accountant
Although chewing gum is credited to a dentist, bubble gum owes its existence to an even less likely inventor.
Despite being an accountant by trade, Walter E. Diemer created the Dubble Bubble recipe that got the sticky bubblegum ball rolling.
Bubble Gum Got Its Famous Hue by Being the Only Color Available
Who knows? If Diemer had a blue or green dye on hand in 1928, the first bubble gum batch might have turned out very different from the iconic pink that we all know today.
But as legend has it, Diemer only had a red dye on hand, which he diluted to pink. It was an upgrade from the original gum shade, which was a dingy, unappetizing gray color.
The Famous Brand Still Exists Today
"Dubble Bubble" was the name of the iconic bubble gum brand that William Diemer invented for the Fleer Corporation.
The brand still exists today, and it's currently owned by Tootsie Roll Industries.
It Took Diemer a Year to Get Bubble Gum Right. Then He Messed Up.
Talk about persistence. Diemer took an entire year to get his bubblegum recipe right. Then he failed to repeat his success. For months.
But he didn't give up, and was finally able to get his bubblegum recipe just right.
The First-Ever Batch Weighed 300 Pounds
Once Diemer got his product right, he wanted to make sure that there was more than enough to go around, resulting in a massive, 300-pound batch of what would soon be known as "Dubble Bubble" gum.
There Were 100 Candies Made From That First Batch
Diemer converted that first batch into 100 pieces of bubble gum, which he quickly ran down to the nearest candy store in hopes of testing its popularity as soon as possible.
He wouldn't have to wait long to find out how the public felt about his tasty new invention.
Bubble Gum Was a Hit Candy From Day One
Diemer's first batch of bubble gum was priced at just a penny. Affordable and delectable, the inventor was no doubt beside himself when the entire stock sold out in just one day.
It might have been a $1 profit, but that would be far from the last buck Dubble Bubble would go on to earn.
It Made $1 Million in Its First Year
Diemer’s bubble gum creation was the first time bubble gum was successfully sold commercially. In the first year, it earned $1.5 million dollars.
If priced at a penny each, that means Dubble Bubble sold at least 150 million pieces of gum in the first year.
Millions of People Chew It Every Year
According to data based on the U.S. Census data and Simmons National Consumer Survey (NHCS), approximately 160.1 million Americans chewed gum in 2020.
When You Chew Bubble Gum, You’re (Sort of) Chewing Rubber
Many people are shocked to learn that what we enjoy chewing on so much starts from a rubber base. Originally organic, today's gum recipes feature a synthetic material called polyisobutylene or "butyl rubber."
This shift actually helped manufacturers move away from relying on trees to make their bubble gum.
Bubble Gum Is Sticky Because of the Polymer Base
The combination of synthetic polymers, plasticizers and resins are what make bubble gum so sticky and stretchy.
The Bubble Gum Base Can Be Found in Some Surprising Places
One of the most common bubble gum bases, polyethylene, can also be found in Hula hoops, ketchup bottles and car tires.
It should go without saying, but you definitely shouldn't try chewing on these.
The 'Bubble Gum' Flavor Itself Is Not Real
Speaking of artificial ingredients, though we recognize bubble gum as a flavor, it's not real. There's no singular "bubble gum flavor."
It's instead a combination of fruity flavors combined to create the taste we recognize whether it's chewing gum, a lollipop or some other snack.
The Biggest Bubble Gum Bubble Ever Blown Was Nearly Two Feet in Diameter
Chad Fell of Winston County, Alabama, holds the Guinness World Record for the biggest bubble blown without the use of his hands at 50.8 centimeters, or 20 inches, in diameter.
Meanwhile, Someone Stretched Gum to the Equivalent a Three-Story Building
Trevor Cummings of Mesa, Arizona, is said to hold the record for the longest gum stretch at 564 inches long. For reference, that's just slightly taller than a three-story building.
Want to Blow Bubbles? Chew for at Least 15 Minutes
If you're going to blow a bubble, you should chew for at least 15 minutes to get the gum soft and pliable enough to create good quality bubbles. The longer you chew, the easier it gets to blow bubbles.
But there are a couple of other important factors to consider when trying to up your bubble-blowing game.
Heat Makes It Easier to Blow Bubbles, While Cold Makes It Tougher
Bubbles blow better when it's hot than when it's cold. The warmth of your mouth plays a role in softening the stuff.
Interestingly, this isn't true for soap bubbles, which are more likely to pop as water gets hotter.
Want to Blow Big Bubbles? Get Rid of the Sugar!.
Bubble gum is easier to blow into bubbles once it's no longer sweet, meaning your gum's sugar molecules are mostly gone.
Sugar weakens the bubble as it stretches, so you'll need to be rid of it with lots of chewing to get the biggest bubbles possible.
Gum Doesn’t Break Down In the Stomach
The gum bases do not break down in your stomach. And remember that human stomach acid has a pH level not too far off from being as strong as battery acid.
Bubble Gum May Be Indigestible, But Don’t Panic
Although it's not recommended that you swallow gum, it's a myth that if it goes in, it won't come out and will "stick" to your insides.
Don't worry. Gum won't break down in your stomach or intestines, but it will still make a timely exit.
Bazooka Joe Bubble Gum’s Comic Strip Ran For 59 Years
Bazooka Joe was a famous bubble gum candy known for its inclusion of a comic strip.
The strip ran from 1953 until 2012, when the strips were replaced with puzzles in an attempt to modernize the brand.
Pepto Bismol Is Not Originally Bubble Gum Flavored
No, Pepto-Bismol is not bubble gum flavor. Although it's bright pink coloring makes your brain think "bubble gum," the official flavor is actually mint.
The company does tote a bubble gum flavor, but it's unsurprisingly aimed at kids.
The World’s Longet Gum Wrapper Chain is 106,810 Feet
Gary Duschl of Virginia Beach could have tossed his gum wrappers away, as most of us do.
Instead, he saved them all, using them to create a unique braid long enough to wrap around the entire planet several times.
Bubble Gum vs. Chewing Gum: Which Is Better for Bubbles?
While you could try to blow tiny bubbles with your chewing gum, bubble gum is the easier and probably more fun choice.
That's because between the two versions, it features a higher gum base.
Bubble Gum Is Much Sweeter Than Chewing Gum
Bubble gum tends to be sweeter than traditional chewing gum. Also, while bubble gum consists of various fruity flavorings, chewing gum tends to be less sweet and have "minty" flavors.
Opt For Sugar-Free Bubble Gum. Your Teeth Will Thank You.
Well, with all that added sugar, it's no surprise that bubble gum isn't the best candy for your teeth.
If you'd like to avoid toothaches and unwanted trips to the dentist, consider sugar-free varieties as a potential alternative.
Myth Alert: Chewing Gum While Cutting Onions Doesn’t Really Prevent Tears
It's a myth that chewing gum while cutting onions will prevent tears. You're better off cutting onions under running water or using goggles.
Bubble Gum Has Its Own Holiday/Special Day
There is indeed a national holiday for this fun sticky treat. Bubble Gum Day gets celebrated during the first week of February every year.
But you can enjoy gum year-round.