Double the bubble — Double the fun

Kathryn McCabe

Sir Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin, the New York Yankees win the World Series, Herbert Hoover is elected the 31st president of the United States,and an accountant invents bubble gum, “Dubble Bubble” while working in his free time. 1928 was an eventful year in this country, and 75 years later, Dubble Bubble is celebrating the birthday of the world’s first bubble gum.

Growing up, Villanova students probably chewed countless pieces of Dubble Bubble bubble gum, and didn’t even know it. Chewing gum itself has been around since ancient times, but the chewy, pink concoction we know as bubble gum did not come into existence until the day Walter Diemer was messing around in a lab and concocted a bubbly mixture that did not stick to his face when he blew a bubble.

The first batch of Dubble Bubble was an immediate hit, selling out within hours of placement on the shelves. Bubble gum’s trademark color of pink was a pure accident- it was the only color food dye around when Diemer was working. Dubble Bubble continued to rise in popularity through the 20th Century and was sold in packs of trading cards for more than 50 years. During World War II, ration kits for American soldiers included pieces of the gum.

Fleer Corporation, the original owner of Dubble Bubble, later sold Dubble Bubble to the Marvel Entertainment Group. In 1998, Marvel sold Dubble Bubble to its current owner, Concord Confections, the world’s largest gumball manufacturer.

After purchasing Dubble Bubble, Concord Confections launched a major campaign to revamp the image of Dubble Bubble and to increase interest in their historical product. They expanded the product line and improved the product itself. These products include Tear Jerkers, which are, super sour gumballs, and Tongue Splashers, which are mouth-painting gumballs, two favorite treats for many current Villanova students during their youth. In a time when entertaining children is very high-tech, bubble gum is a treat children can enjoy that brings them back to the simpler pleasures of childhood.

It is obvious just from walking around campus how popular bubble gum is at Villanova. “I think gum is delicious,” freshman Kelli Richmond said. “I chew it all day long because I get bored in my classes. I chew about four packs a week,” Bubble gum’s popularity is enormous across North America, as 40 million pieces of bubble gum are chewed every day, and Americans spend half a billion dollars on it yearly. Bubble gum has some well-known functions, such as helping to curb bad habits like smoking and overeating, that contribute to its popularity. Bubble gum also has some little-known health benefits.

Chewing gum burns 11 calories an hour. Studies show that chewing bubble gum can relax your muscles, help relieve stress and help people concentrate on their work better.

It comes as no surprise that gum is heavily made up of sugar; in fact 60 to 70 percent of a piece of Dubble Bubble gum by weight is sugar. The older brands of bubble gum like Dubble Bubble and Bazooka that still produce a lot of their “original flavor” variety are generally higher in sugar content, harder and better for blowing bubbles than the newer brands. Concord Confections is determined to maintain this original heritage of Dubble Bubble while expanding the brand to meet the growing demands of consumers. Happy 75th birthday to the world’s first bubble gum!