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The Story of Chicles Adams
With iconic chiclet chewing gum like Chiclets or Trident sugar-free varieties like Trident, chewing gum has long been an American institution and its creation story is quite fascinating.
Chewing gum is made of latex derived from various trees’ sap sources; most commonly it comes from Sapodilla trees.
Early Life and Education
Thomas Adams dabbled in various trades during his early life. Eventually he settled upon becoming a glassmaker and photographer.
Adams first began experimenting with chicle during his time as secretary to Mexico’s President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. In an attempt to find an inexpensive synthetic substitute for rubber products that were in short supply at that time.
Adams had become frustrated after several failed experiments and was feeling lost as to where to turn for answers. One day while shopping at the drugstore he noticed a woman purchasing paraffin wax gum for one penny. Realizing chicle would make an excellent substitute, he used some surplus chicle from his surplus stash to experiment by producing test batches of chewing gum from it.
At the time of his passing, Adams was overseeing one of the country’s leading gum manufacturers; in addition, he dabbled with beer brewing and writing for newspapers. With an eye for illustration and an instinct for knowing what people liked, Adams made it his business to stay informed on new products and trends.
As the tale goes, this man started with modest resources but his products sold well due to smart marketing. Chicle became one of the first gums available in supermarkets across America; it remained an integral part of American diet until synthetic gums came on the scene during mid-20th century.
Achievement and Honors
Thomas Adams invented and patented a machine in 1871 which could mass produce chicle chewing gum, sparking its popularity and giving rise to American Chicle Company and thus creating an entire industry.
Adams initially attempted to turn chicle into synthetic rubber products like toys and masks, but his efforts ultimately proved futile. Inspired by witnessing a girl buying paraffin wax chewing gum at a corner drugstore, Adams developed an efficient process for making gum out of chicle that eventually resulted in founding American Chicle Company and becoming one of the world’s most beloved chewing gum manufacturers; its products still make waves today – you might even spot one in vending machines!
In the 1860s, Mexican President Santa Anna devised a scheme to sell Chicle (natural rubber substitute) in America. Adams agreed to take on his possession and use it as an alternative form of rubber production; though attempts at toys, rain boots, and bicycle tires all using Chicle yielded little profit or significant rubber production.
Adams observed a girl at a drugstore chewing paraffin wax gum and decided chicle could also serve as an effective gum substitute. After making some experimental batches of chicle-based gum for sale at one penny each, this became popular enough that eventually American Chicle Company was formed to market their product.
John Adams has over two decades of experience advising ultra-high net worth families, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders from ultra-high net worth families to entrepreneur-owned firms and industry leaders on corporate development matters, mergers & acquisitions deals. In 2012 he established NextGen Capital; an advisory firm providing financial & strategic planning services for high net worth families as well as business owners & investors.
Prior to creating chewing gum, Adams was an unsuccessful inventor who attempted to make synthetic rubber products out of chicle, which can be found on Mexican sapodilla trees. He used chicle in toys, masks, rain boots and bicycle tires – each time without success. In 1899 he brought several chewing gum factories together into one company called American Chicle Company which still produces many of Adams’s products today!