Chewing through history




The habit of chewing gum-like substances is believed to go back to prehistoric times. Archaeologists have found tooth marks in chunks of tree resin among Mesolithic remains. Native Americans chewed spruce resin, a habit adopted by the first pioneers. Resin was later replaced by sweetened paraffin, but it was not until the 19th century that the Americans caught on to Mexico's centuries-old use of the latex, called chicle, of the sapodilla tree.

The American Thomas Adams was trying to make a material for tyres from chicle when he realised he had a substance ideal for chewing. His first sample sold out in less than a day. By 1871 he had received the first chewing gum machine patent and began mass producing Adams New York No 1 chewing gum. Roughly 10 years later William J White added peppermint flavouring. In Britain about 20m people masticate their way through nearly 1bn packs a year. Chewing gum became classed as litter in 2005 and according to the Improvement and Development Agency, the average cost of cleaning town centres of gum is £20,000.

chicle – guma do żucia; sok drzewa sączyniec do wyrobu gumy do żucia

chunk – kawałek, bryła

flavouring – aromat

masticate – żuć, przeżuwać

pioneers – pionierzy; pierwsi anglosascy osadnicy w Ameryce

resin – żywica

sample – próbka

sapodilla tree – sączyniec właściwy, pigwica właściwa (drzewo, którego sok służy do wyrobu gumy do żucia)

spruce – świerk

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