Do You Love Bubblegum Machines?
Okay, I know I promised Halloween art. But this IS candy, and candy is Halloween, right? I've had this idea sitting on the table for awhile (and even used it as inspiration for one of my party cups). Last night I decided to bite the gumball and get it done.
I've loved gumball machines since I was a teeny tot. (Although I really preferred the ones with rubber balls or other cool junk.) A classic bubblegum machine is artistic, and classic. A perfect balance between fun and nostalgia without being melancholy.
Since bubblegum machines are still around, they can remind us of our childhood in a happy way.
And who doesn't love happy?
Gumballs can also be motivational. Or at least the story behind gum is. The history of gum is rich with entrepreneurship, creativity and marketing.
Here are some fun facts about gum, gumballs, and our beloved gumball machines, and a free printable for you:
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The History of Gumballs and Gumball Machines
Before there were gumballs, there was gum. And before that, people chewed on whatever chewy stuff they could find. Usually, tree resin (but also wax and natural latex!)
- This habit went way back to ancient times. Some historians estimate that gum was being chewed over 9000 years ago.
- People chewed tree resin for the same reasons people chew gum today...to freshen their breath, clean their teeth, and curb their appetite.
- Even though people loved "gum" for centuries, it wasn't until the 1800's that people began making it on purpose as a confection.
- According to Wrigley.com (and they would know) the first commercially sold gum in the US was spruce resin blocks in 1848. After that, people switched to gums made from flavored paraffin.
Chicle was introduced to an entrepreneur named Thomas Adams in 1869 by Santa Anna. (Yes, that Santa Anna!) Chicle came from Central America, and it was difficult to obtain enough to keep up with the growing popularity of chicle gum.
Although there were other gum makers, Thomas Adams is considered the inventor of modern chewing gum. He was also the first guy to invent a machine to mass produce gum, and he had the idea to sell it in both ball form and stick form.
As if that weren't clever enough, his company brought vending machines to the US to dispense his new stick gum.
He then went on to buy up and merge all the top gum manufacturing companies and start selling the first gum with a hard candy coating.
Other Gums and the Eventual Gumball
While Thomas Adams was killing it with his chicle gum and new vending machines, some guy named Frank Fleer decided to out-gum everyone else and create a gum that could be used for blowing bubbles.
His first attempt didn't go so well. Reportedly it did blow bubbles, but it didn't taste great and was unreasonably sticky. One of Fleer's employees later improved the formula, and in 1928 Dubble-Bubble was released.
- Around this time the first candy coated gumballs were invented.
- No one is 100% sure who invented them. But legend has it that it was an accident made by a grocer, who then got the idea to put the sugar coated balls into a vending machine. (Until then, machines only dispensed stick or brick shaped gum.)
- As soon as Dubble-Bubble was released, it was first sold as wrapped gumballs. It wasn't until a bit later that the lozenge shape wrapped in comics would appear.
- By the end of the 1920's, gumball machines were already popular. Just like today, they were placed in drug stores, general stores, stations, and shopping centers where they could entice children and adults alike.
- Speaking of vending machines...those have been around a long time. The first record of a vending machine was in the 1st century BC, and it was a coin operated device for dispensing a measured amount of holy water!
Todaygumball machines are often popular gifts or fun decorations for the home too.
Be Inspired By Gumballs
Digging through the history of gumballs is pretty inspirational if you are an entrepreneur. I mean, we are still using a lot of the same methods.
William Wrigley, Jr. for example got into the gum business by accident. He started including free packs of gum to entice people to buy his baking powder. The gum was much more popular, so he changed his business plan and went down in history.
They also understood marketing. Fleer's pink gum was shocking, yet it grabbed everyone's attention because it was unique. They understood that to sell more gum, they had to put their product in front of lots of people, without having to sell it in person every day.
Hooray for passive income right?
And of course, there are still tons of people who go into business with their own vending machines today. So essentially, penny sticks of gum opened up a whole world of possibilities for entrepreneurs.
Now, doesn't that motivate you just a little? If so, grab this free printable and start making some lists today:
More gumball machine designs: