How New York Ate 100 Years Ago
CHEWING GUM

From The Encyclopedia of New York City, Edited by Kenneth T. Jackson, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, the New-York Historical Society, New York American Chicle Company

First of chewing gum manufacturers, formed as Adams Sons and Company in 1876 by the glass merchant Thomas Adams (1818-1905) and his two sons. As a result of experiments in a warehouse on Front Street, Adams made chewing gum made with chicle, large quantities of which have been made available to him by General Antonio de Santa Ana of Mexico, who was in exile in Staten Island and at whose instigation Adams had tried to use the chicle to make rubber. Adams sold the gum with the slogan "Adams' New York Gum No. 1 - Snapping and Stretching." The offices and factory were on Vesey Street and were later moved to Murray Street.

The firm was the nation's most prosperous chewing gum company by the end of the century: it built a monopoly in 1899 by merging with the six largest and best-known chewing gum manufacturers in the United States and Canada and achieved great success as the maker of Chiclets. It was renamed the American Chicle Company, with headquarters on 44th Street in Manhattan (moved in 1923 to Thomson Ave. in Long Island City, where the firm had two factories). During the second World War many of the facilities were used for packing and shipping war rations. The firm merged with Warner-Lambert Pharmaceutical Company in 1962 and soon left the city; its factories in Long Island City closed in 1981.

– James Bradley