Do you remember the days of chewing gum vending machines around every corner?
The big brands back in the day were Wrigley’s and Beech Nut, but which was your favourite?
If you remember the Beech Nut brand of chewing gum, you’ll remember the distinctive waxy yellow and green packaging and the small sugar coated rectangular blocks of chewing gum rather than flat sticks. It came in peppermint flavour, and according to many in the Spring Chicken Community, it tasted better than anything else available:
“Lovely strong flavour, best one there was. I used to buy some on the way to school and the flavour would last all day, right up to bedtime.”
It was sold for 1d per pack, but many Facebook followers share a lasting memory of getting an extra pack for free:
“If the arrow on the knob of the machine was pointing forward, you got 2 for a penny. We always checked all the machines as we passed!”
“My grandmother had a machine outside her shop. l worked out where the dot had to be to get a free pack… there was a free one every fourth turn!”
Wrigley’s was generally more expensive than Beech Nut, but it came in a variety of flavours – Arrowmint, Spearmint, Doublemint, and Juicy Fruit, and in stick form as well as sugar coated.
In the ’50s and ’60s, it was promoted as “Healthful, Refreshing, Delicious” and an aid to digestion, but in the ’30s, ads proudly proclaimed that chewing Doublemint would…
“Beautify your lips, mouth, teeth, and assure a charming smile”.
Another popular Wrigley’s chewing gum was packaged as P.K., triple-distilled peppermint flavour. More than a few Spring Chicken Facebook followers have happy memories of playing two balls and singing a chewing gum rhyme:
“P.K. penny a packet, first you chew it then you crack it, then you stick it on your jacket, P.K. penny a packet!”
If you’ve ever wondered what the letters P and K stood for, the answer is Philip Knight – the son of William Wrigley, Jr. Now that’s a nugget of knowledge you can wow your friends with!
In the 1940s, Dentyne was advertised as “Mouth Healthy” and by the ’50s, it had become “the gum that brushes your teeth”.
The brand name is a combination of the words “dental” and “hygiene”, but its cinnamon flavour wasn’t to everyone’s taste. It may have freshened your breath, but it didn’t have the kid-appeal strawberry bubble gum had!
Many in the Spring Chicken Community remember their childhood during WWII…
“We would ask American soldiers, ‘Got any gum, chum?’ and they always obliged. Beech Nut was my favourite, although Spearmint came very close!”
And many more remember a childhood of being warned against the dangers of swallowing chewing gum…
“My mum said it would stick my ribs together and I’d die.”
“I never really had chewing gum. My mother used to say it would wind round your heart and kill you. Strangely, I found myself saying the same to my two daughters!”
“We were told it was made from horses’ hooves and we mustn’t swallow it because it would glue up our insides!”
Innocent times. Which flavour was your favourite?