Clove gum used to be the standard for chewing gum. Gum, in the early days, was viewed more like a medicine than an enjoyable breath freshener and strong clove flavoring was common to many products of this era. The entire process of making gum was a little bit like making a luxury product in the beginning, and this was not a common man’s item.
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Gum products were really new on the candy and breath freshening scene in 1914 when the Thomas Adams Company started making gum. The original gum product that was the base of clove gum was only brought over to the US in the late 1800s, so it had not yet been used in many products as yet. In fact, the original idea was to use the rubberized product, called Chicle, for things like tires.
Clove Gum History
Clove Gum was added to the lineup of Thomas Adams Company products in 1914. The product that made the gum possible is called Chicle, and it was brought up from Mexico in 1871. Chicle was actually sold to the Thomas Adams Company by the former Mexican president when he left Mexico and was looking for a way to make some money as he fled.
As mentioned before, Adams was really interested in the product for use in manufacturing rubber items, but then he found out that Chicle was chewed by Mexicans. This made him wonder if he could make a new product to sell in his candy factory that would deliver big results for his brand. Chewing gum was not a commonly sold product at this time, and most of the items that were used for breath freshening were not really effective.
The process of making the gum more palatable took a little time, and flavoring choices were tried that did not work out. Finally, Adams decided that anise was the right choice. Black Jack Gum was the first really successful product that Adams made, and it is also the first gum that was sold in strips. This made the gum easier to chew and easier to carry around, and it was a big hit. Being able to pass off little sticks of gum to other people was easier as well and this made gum easy to share for the first time ever. Gum has been advertised as an icebreaker in social situations ever since.
At this time, gum was mostly being sold to “calm nervous habits” and might also be offered up as a solution to bad breath. The flavor of Black Jack Gum was quite strong, and you really needed to appreciate anise to want to enjoy this gum for long. The strong flavor was a requirement for these two needs per the market at the time, but things started to change as gum became more popular. Since this was such a specific gum style and yet so successful, Adams decided to try out some other different flavor profiles for his gum product.
Black Jack Gum continued to sell quite well, but Adams also rolled out Tutti-Frutti, which was fruit-flavored, and Sour Orange. These were moderately successful products and probably captured the customers that were not fans of anise flavoring.
However, the creation of the clove version of this gum was the most successful variant and continues to be the most popular flavor offering that Adams created. Clove Gum was released in 1914, and it was almost immediately a big success. It seemed to create the right blend of breath-freshening and an enjoyable flavor for the first time.
When US Prohibition was put into effect in the 1920s, Clove Gum became the product that people had been waiting for. Whiskey clubs and speakeasies sold alcohol in secret at this time, and clove gum helped disguise the smell of liquor on people’s breath. Clove Gum ads even stated proudly that the product would “take your breath away!”
Clove Gum was the first gum product to be contained in a red wrapper and red packaging, which has now become a common choice in the gum industry. You have only to think about cinnamon gums and some of the older gum products that are wrapped in red livery to see how much this choice by Clove Gum caught on with other manufacturers.
By the 1940s, Clove Gum was being added to the field kits that were sent to the front in WWII. This was often the closest thing to food that some soldiers would get when they were in dangerous situations, and it was a welcome diversion from the stress of the war.
Despite the various world events that were causing tumult during the first few decades of the life of Clove Gum, this chewing gum product was able to turn Thomas Adams’ business into an empire. Sold under the umbrella of the American Chicle Company, this product has enjoyed lasting popularity, and it is still sold today.
Gerrit J Verburg Co has ownership of the candy now, and they have continued the careful sale and promotion of this product. This is one of the longest-running candy products that are still on the market, and its companion product, Black Jack Gum, is also still sold today. Beeman’s, which was made to aid in digestion, is also still sold alongside these other two classic gum products.
Clove Gum Logo
Buy Clove Gum
You can also buy Clove Gum at Old Time Candy by clicking the image below.
Clove Gum Ingredients
From the Bulk Candy Store Listing:
- Gum base
- Glucose syrup
- Artificial and natural flavoring
- Soy lecithin
This is such a simple recipe and one that you will not find from other manufacturers. The popularity of Clove Gum is in part related to the very simple and straightforward flavor that it offers, as well as the lack of artificial ingredients.
All of the gums that are made by this company and are now managed by Gerrit J Verburg Co. are equally simple. This is the beauty of this kind of product. If you don’t want to have a gum product in your car or your purse that includes a lot of artificial ingredients, this set of products is a great choice. You will love the bright sharpness of the flavors that are offered in these products, and the Clove Gum option is the most mellow of the flavor profiles offered.
Clove Gum Nutrition
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Clove Gum Taste
Clove is an aromatic spice and one that actually adds a little warmth to dishes that it is used in. This is a component in things like pumpkin pie or chai teas in some cases, and many people associate it with the fall season. This is not how clove was originally thought of when Clove Gum was first made, but in the US, clove is firmly connected with fall-time flavors, warm drinks, and desserts. You will not find that your Clove Gum tastes like a pumpkin pie, but you will recognize the warm and slightly spicy presence of the clove when you try this gum out.
Clove Gum is not nearly as strong in flavor as anise gum products like Black Jack Gum, so you will not have to worry about the flavor becoming overwhelming. There are many people who love this spice in all kinds of bakery goods and hot drinks, so it might remind them more of these items than of other gums that are intended to be spicy as well.
Can I Get Clove Gum Anywhere?
The current company that is managing Clove Gum makes large batches every few years and then sells to distributors from all over. This means that supplies can ebb and flow throughout the year. You might have to look around at various online sellers to get your hands on a pack of Clove Gum. If you are patient, supplies will be restocked, and you will be able to order your Clove Gum from almost any online seller. Some local candy stores also carry this gum and have it on their shelves when it is available from the manufacturer.
Clove Gum is one of those things that crops up on shelves here and there, which sort of adds to the excitement of the purchase for people who love this flavor profile. It is rare to find any clove products on the market these days, so this is one of your best bets. You will not taste clove by itself in too many other products, so Clove Gum is a great way to figure out what clove actually tastes like when it is not included with other spices or flavorings.
Pictures of Clove Gum
Clove Gum Ads
Clove Gum was not advertised in the same way as Beeman’s gums as a whole. In the 80s, most of the Beeman’s commercials featured really pretty women and handsome men connecting because of the good breath that Beeman’s had made possible. This was a big departure from the way that these kinds of products had been advertised to that date, and it was a clear connection between gum and lifestyle products.
A simple banner ad that was used on TV for Clove Gum:
A taste test video:
A Beeman’s Gum Commercial from the 80s:
My name is Brianna and I love writing on all topics. Candy history fascinates me and I am passionate about sharing my love of this topic with everyone else!
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