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New-York tribune. (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, June 11, 1916, Image 39

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1916-06-11/ed-1/seq-39/

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CELEBRATING GHEWING GUM'S FIFTIETH BIRTHDAY
Just Half a Centnry Ago This Month
Santa Anna of Mexico Hospitably
Passed A round the Chicle. and
the Great Ameriean Jaw
Movement Began.
FOLD away the canopies of the
Shakeapeare Masquo; broak up
tho type in the special-feat ure
: ? are'a Heroinea" and
elear the all the trappings inci
dent to tho Tercentenary. for the Big
Anniversary of 1916 is at hand. Fifty
years ago ihis month chewing-gum be?
came an Ameriean Issue.
Among the honest proletariat of
Amerii a Shakespoaro has won his thou?
sands. but chewing-gum has won its (or
hen tons of thousands, and it is no more
than right that it should havo oflicial
recognition at this time.
Ther" is a delightful little vagary of
fate in the coincidence of the fiftieth
birthday of chewing-gum falline: in a
year of personal unpleasantness with
Mexico, for it was from Mexico that the
I'nited i'tates received the first intima
tion of its national dei-rtiny. It was in
the form of a little brown wad of chew
a lo chicle. brought to New York in I86C1
hy that crafty political ring of Mexico.
Santa Anna. If for nothing else than
the memory of this importation, there
would lie aufficient ground for what one
paper has so aptly termed "a deli
cate situation" on the border.
On one oi' his eampaign tours for Re
volving Preaident of Mexico, General
Santa Anna v ni in June, 1866, to con?
fer with a friend at SnugHarbor, Staten
Island. Little realizing what moment
Ita wero to attend his action.
cami* ore Thomas Adams, jr., to pay a
social call on the distinguished thug.
One word led to another and before
the afternoon was half over they had
reached such a state of familiarity that
General Santa Anna had gone to his
bureau-drawer and taken out a little
ehunk of something resemb'ling over
shooing and, placing a piece of it in his
mouth. began to chew it with apparent
relish, at the same time offering a sector
of it to Mr. Adams and his son.
With a nice regard for convention, Mr.
Adams asked the general what it was
before he placed it in his mouth, and
was informed that it was the gum of the
Zapote tree, known to its friends as
"chicle."
Thus reassured. Mr. Adams took a
chance, and was at once impressod with
the substance's possibilities as a com
mercial rubber. He asked Santa Anna
to give him a piece about the size of a
man's fist. and took it home with him
for experimental purposes. to see if it
could not be vulcanized.
In conference with a chemist and a
manufacturor of dental supplies, he tried
to produce from it a substance thai
could be used as a base for ?rtificial
teeth. but the thing must have had
some intuitive sense of what it had
realiy been brought into the world for
as it successfully refused to be vulcan?
ized and remained just what it was
when it first came from Santa Anna's
Thc Humble Birthpla
bureau?a potential stick of health-giv?
ing, circulation-building, teeth-proserv
ing, digestion-aiding. brain-refr?shing,
chest-developing. soul-tuning chewing
gum.
One day as they sat round the dilied ?
ing table gazing hopelessly at the deli
ant mass of chicle, some one said in a
pet that the only thing the darn stuff
was good for apparently was to be
chewed. And Mr. Adams. being of that
typeof menpictured in the encyclopedia
advertisements who have, without a eol?
lege education, worked their way from
a line-cut fadeaway in the baekground.
representing a barefoot boy, to a half
tone picture of a man in a two-button
sack-suit, with his hand on an open vol?
ume, immediately answered back with.
"We'll fight it out on this line if it takes
all summer," or "Millions for defence,
but not one cent for tribute," or some
such historical phrase. and the manufac
ture of chewing-gum from chicle was
begun.
In a little house on Palisade .*\venue,
Jersey City, with a capital investment of
thirty-five dollars, the Adamses, pere et
fila, started what might be called th"
greatest national movement .'.nn rica
has ever seen?the jaw movement.
The chicle was boiled on an ordinary
cook-stove, like molasses candy. until it
had the consistemy of bread dough.
when it was rolled into long strips and
cut off in inch-sections. Theae were
hardened in cold water and packed. a
hundred in a box, and the thing waa
done.
The chewing of gum in the earl) daj -
of its manufaclure was more a matter
of conecientioufl application to the work
at hand than it is to-day. for there was
no such thing as flavoring to help along
the delusion of having a good time. It
was just chewing for chewing*! sake.
and the pioneers who ga\e then* time
and energy without even a trace of
.-pcarmint or blood-orange reward dc
serve all thr- praiie due to men and
women who blaze the trail for those who
follow in effete enjoyment of the fruita
of their hardships.
lt was necessary at tir.-t to give away
the pieces of gum with purchase- ol
candy. so that the ehildren might have
a chance to take it home and try it over
on their piazzas. with the idea that they
would soon come back for more. once
they discovered what a source of annoy
ance it became to th^ir eMers. The pay
chology of this scheme wu perft-ct. for
the firs* retafler who tried it was be
sieged on th*' following da> by young
sters from the neighboring school. clam
oring for more gum. In sheer self-de
fence the parenfs took to chewing it also
and the habit was on.
ce of Chewing Gum.
It rieeds but a glance at current sta
tistics to show to what tremendous
heightfl it has risen. We have it on
otherwiae unimpeachable authority that
if all the energy expended in chewing
gum were to be converted into calories
we would have a force suflicient to pro
pel a ferryboat from Peck Slip, Eaat
River, eastward to Pier 19, North River,
via Lisbon and Hong Kong, or, in elec
trical terms, a current powerful enough
to lift a weight of 43.305.000 tons 34.000
miles per minute per second per kilo
watt-hour. Thia BOUnda stagg"ring. It
is, But it is a development of the gum
chewing habit that we must fact with?
out flinehing and without pussy-footing.
The beneficial effects of this national
pastime must not be overlooked. Chew?
ing-gum came into a nation of tobacco
chewers and refined it and elevated its
tone until Charles Dickens, the author,
wouldn't recognize the old places were
he to pay a visit to this country to-day.
It has contributed greatly to the
neatness of the personal appeamnce of
the nation. as it is estimated th tt in the
mirrorsongum machines there are 345,
659.256 cravata and 756.586.589 wisps of
hair adjusted during the ealendar year
And one need only look at the car
cards to see that the use of chewing
gum. especially when brought home in a
box, has been the means of keeping the
home life of the nation in a state of pres
ervation. Were it not for chewing-gum
what would there be for the little ones
lo run prattling to their daddy fnr as he
appeara at the gate? What would
Christmaa bc without a erate o?* chew?
ing-gum peeping frori tho top of each
stocking? What would any dinner
party resolve- itself into had not the
hostess suflicient MVOtr faire to place a
stick of gum at each place as a delicate
rcminder to her guests that one can
never be sure iust what goes on in the
kitchen. and that it is better to be safe
than sorry ?
It is fer these benefita to our national
life thai we should at thi- time give
tome tangible evidence of apprei iation.
Granted thai shakespeare had talent.
Granted that his lines have been more
tniaquoted than the lines of any other
author. and that whatever play of hi-;
you want from the library is always out.
But these are no reasons why the anni
veraary of his death should be cele
brated with special rotogravure section
and bowling matchea while the anniver*
lary of the birth of a truly Ameriean in
'titution should go unnotieed. America
? aricana! Ameriean celebration
for Ameriean eelobrities! At this time.
when nothing but intense. fresh-every
hour patriotism will win the day, let us
turn our plaudits to our native genius.
Born, Commercially, in New Jersey.
Chewing Gam Has Grown to a Point
Where 300,000,000 Cravats Are
Adjusted at the Slot-Machine
Mirrors Annually.
Plans for the celebration of the Flf
tieth Anniversary of the birth of Chicle
Chewing Gum are already under advise
ment in a Committee on Arrangements
appointed by a Committee on Appoint
ments which came aa the result of a
meeting of the Kxecutive Committee last
month. The Committee on Publicity
has given out the following tentative
programme as arranged by the Enter?
tainment Committee:
On the first day there will be a pa
geant, participated in by all the .-school
children of the country simultaneously
in their respeetive school buildings. At
the door to each school room will be a
waste baaket, auitably deeorated with
the school colors, and presided over by
Q toaeher. The pupils will march in In
dian tiie past the baaket, each depositing
a wad of gum therein and then pass on
to their seats. This pretty little folk
step has been practised for many years
hy individual members of the classes,
but this is the lirst time that the spirit
of tho thing has been crystalli/.ed into
a community affair.
There will then be a ma-ique of tre
mendoua proportiona, representing in
historical form all the caxus bclli fur
niahed this country by Mexico, bepin
1 ing with the .A.lamo and working up in
intensity of otfence to the introduction
of chewing gum by Santa Anna and the
vogue of tho Mexican war eorrespond
ent. This masque is expected to stir
public opinion to a sense of its national
honor as nothing else eould, and it ia
confidently expected that close upon the
performance will come a declar.it ton of
war with Mexico and at last a mainte
r.ance of .Xmerican rights.
Coincident with the masque will be
solemnized the laying of the comerstona
of the new Seven Points Missior. on the
site of the old mission of the same name
minus two.
A monster parade will close the cele
bration, and tt is estimated that it will
take three days for it to pass the n view
ing stand. In fact. it is doubtful if it
ever passes it, as the stand Ifl co be lo
cated on a side street not on the line of
march. Headed by the surviving gum
chewers of 1866, some of them the very
ones to whom, as ehildren. the first
chicle gum was given as a bonus for
buying candy, the parade will include in
its ranks representatives o\' every pro
fession in industry, including haseball
players. On being interviewed after tho
parade (Ieneral Wood will say: ' it wat
nothing short of Inapiring, and only goel
to show that every red-l I (0 Ied Ameri?
can is back of this moven/nt."
And if you doubt it. stand in the sub?
way some night and watch the people
opposite chewing gum. You will be?
come so interested that you will forgd
to chew your own.

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