Have you ever wondered who invented bubble gum, or why it's pink? How do you go about getting the answers to these questions? Easy. Think way, way back, not to prehistoric times but close, 1928. Popular With Children, Unpopular with Parents and Teachers. The first known bubble gum appeared in 1906, and was a dud. Known as B libber Blubber, it was sticky, brittle, and insufficiently cohesive.

In 1928, an accountant, Walter Diemer, invented an improved version of bubble gum. The only food coloring he had on hand was pink, so for many years, pink was the common color of bubble gums. Diemer arranged to market the bubble gum in Philadelphia candy stores and the product became wildly popular with children. Fleer Company purchased the recipe, and named the product Bubble Bubble. By World War II, the sales of bubble gum in the United States reached about $4. 5 million annually.

The war caused a shortage of Siamese, a latex secreted by the tree. The domestic production of bubble gums needed to be curtailed, but production resumed in the post-war years and surged to new heights. By 2000, children in North America spent about a half billion dollars annually on bubble gums, and used some 40 million pieces daily. Bubble gum made the Guinness Book of World Records, with the largest bubble ever made measuring 22 inches in diameter. The greater the molecular weight of the gum, the stronger is the film, and the larger the bubble that can be blown. On the other hand, increasing the molecular weight or size also tends to make the gum more difficult to chew.

A technical breakthrough in 1999 allowed manufacturers to create uniquely textured bubble gum by using soft candy or toffee manufacturing equipment. The resulting bubble gum is similar to chewy candy, but lacking the stickiness. In the late 1970 s, popular interactive candies for children were Pop Rocks and Space Dust. As children chewed these candies, tiny bubbles of pressurized carbon dioxide popped and fizzled, and resonated thunderously in the inner ear in a series of explosions that took place in the mouth.

As described by children 'it sounds like a storm in your mouth. If you swallow them fast, they crackle all the way down.' Later, General Foods rejuvenated its carbonated-candy technology and created carbonated bubble gum. This product also provided the crackling sensation of the original Pop Rocks and Space Dust. After the popping subsided, the product left a chewable pink, orange, or yellow bubble gum. Novelty bubble gums abound.

Some are produced in sticks, sheets, cubes, chubs, chunks, pellets, and tape dispensers with six feet of bubble gum tape. Others are packed in plastic tubes, and the bubble gum is squeezed out like toothpaste. Researchers have noted that children love to squeeze anything from tubes. Some tubes, made with eye-catching neon colors, have plastic ropes so that children can hang the tubes around their necks, and squeeze out luminous pink or green gum. One green bubble gum is shredded and looks like spinach. Appropriately, it is called Popeye.

Other unusual bubble gums are Ectoplasm Tube Gum, Ouch Gum that looks like band aids, bubble tape in a role similar to a measuring tape, Slime r Tube Gum, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Giggle Gum, and pouring bubble gum with Candy Giggle Burst, Gibb l " in Silly Strawberry, and Tropical Tickle. The popular baseball trading cards may be accompanied by bubble gum pouches, which serve as packaging for the gum, and later, to hold the trading cards. Other bubble gum packaging consists of a metal tin that looks like a miniature school locker, complete with graffiti. In recent years, intensely flavored products, including bubble gums, have been marketed for children. According to a food trade journal, tapes with extreme flavors 'are challenging kids with 'how much can you handle?' ... So these little thrill seekers will love the six feet of bubble gum tape' with intense flavor: extreme sour lemon-lime; extreme freeze cherry, extreme sweet cotton candy, and extreme fruit raspberry.

In the early 1980 s, gum-like tobacco products were developed for tobacco chewers and snuff users. The chewing gums served as a drug-delivery system for nicotine. By the late 1980 s, anti-smoking efforts of health professionals and increasingly stringent regulations against smoking in public places created a new market for nicotine-containing gums. Such 'medicinal' gums might help in nicotine withdrawal.

The objective was to have the addicted smoker chew rather than smoke, with the hope that eventually the person would become a non-smoker and a non-chewer -- at least, a non-nicotine chewer. Bubble gum as a dietary-supplement delivery system is relatively new. One advertisement -- aimed at parents -- for a vitamin-containing bubble gum for children states: 'You may never have to remind your kids to take their vitamins again. With Vitaball there's no begging, no pleading, no fuss.

The first five minutes or so your kids chew Vitaball, they get 100% RDA [Recommended Daily Allowance] of 11 essential vitamins kids need every day. And it comes in all their favorite gumball colors and flavors. At last there's a multi-vitamin kids won't outgrow.' Extending the marketing niche, the advertisement continues, 'you " ll love Vitaball as a kid, a teen and beyond. Get Vitaball for the whole family.

When was the last time your kids reminded you to give them their vitamins?' In 1987, a coffee-flavored chewing gum was introduced for the purpose of delivering caffeine. Caffeine can be absorbed through the oral membrane quicker than through the gastrointestinal tract. The caffeine buzz is delivered more quickly in chewing gum than in drinking coffee. More recently, other caffeinated chewing gums have been introduced with twice as much caffeine as the earlier product. The market is targeted to 'caffeine-seeking adults such as truck drivers, commuters, travelers, college students, coffee and soda drinkers -- just about everyone.' So-called sugarless gums are not truly sugar free, although they may not cavity producing. They generally contain some poly ols and glucose syrup.

Both sugarless and regular sugar-containing gums often include high-intensity sweeteners. 'Unfortunately, many consumers do not properly dispose of chewed gum. So, in areas such as parks, amusement parks, shopping centers, and other public places, chewed gum is on sidewalks and like surfaces or stuck on walls, statuary, or other structures. This thereby necessitates the manual de removal of the stuck chewed gum using a scraping device or other means... It may not be possible to easily remove all of the chewed gum.' Also, 'the chewed gum can become stuck to a person's shoe.' In Conclusion,.