Bubble Gum

1911

At some point in your life, you’ve no doubt chewed up a big wad of bubblegum, blew a ginormous bubble, and had it pop all over your face.  Your mom probably helped you clean it off.  Or perhaps, like mine,  she left you to your own devices.
But when did kids first get the chance to make such a delicious, gummy mess?
The FirstMention for bubble gum (always two words, back in the day) shows up on November 7, 1911 — in a very unsatisfying fashion — in the Wichita (TX) Daily Times.

Hmmmph!  Bubble gum, yes.  But actual bubbles….apparently not.  The real deal eventually turns up in the 1920’s, along with dire warnings of kids getting poisoned, sickened, injured or otherwise damaged by the new-fangled candy fad.

Dubble Bubble, the key purveyor of the stuff, had to take out ads attesting to bubble gum’s purity and safety.  They even offered a pretty sizable $500 reward for anyone who could prove it to be harmful.

Kids caught on to the delights of bubble gum pretty quickly, but grown-ups — ain’t it always the truth — lagged behind, and even in the mid-1930’s, were still getting their first introduction to the stuff, as in this 1934 cartoon.

You can see a larger image here.

If you’re interested in a bit more history on bubble gum (and who wouldn’t be?) take a look at these links:

The invention (or is it discovery) of bubble gum (though this site gives a date of 1928…seventeen years after the FirstMention!).

Wikipedia’s bubblegum entry

And here’s a nice one…the Dubble Bubble Virtual Bubblegum Factory Tour

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Our FirstMention research is carried out in many sources, including historical newspaper archives, online family history records, state archives, and old books.

Know of an earlier First Mention?  Drop me a line at david@firstmention.com