Chewing Gum in WWI (Photos)

Chewing gum has a surprisingly storied history.  Archaeologists have found evidence that the ancient Greeks, the Mayans, and the Aztecs all chewed sticky substances.  It was not until the mid 19th century, however, that American entrepreneurs began mass producing gum.  By the 20th century, gum had become a staple of American life, so much so that every American soldier in World War I and World War II received regular rations of gum while they were overseas.

Manufacturing chewing gum for fighting men. The great vats in which the chiclets are placed for the coating process is shown. September 27, 1918. Local Identifier: 165-WW-192D-14.

Over the past few years the National Archives has been steadily digitizing records related to World War I.  Though scanning is still underway, we have already digitized over 150,000 photographs.  All of the images in this blog come from the American Unofficial Collection of World War I Photographs (165-WW).



Photographs of the Wrigley Factory, CA. 1918:


The Unwritten Record has highlighted many records related to World War I, some of which can be viewed here.  Additional images related to Chewing Gum during WWI can be viewed on the National Archives Catalog, as well as a 1920 film, Chu Chu (Local Identifier: FC-FC-2489), produced by the Ford Motor Company.

One thought on “Chewing Gum in WWI (Photos)

  1. Met a Man who has been a prisoner in a concentration camp. He told some interesting facts and made history come more alive
    He said one morning they woke up to many planes flying over, they could tell they were American planes. The gates were open and they heard the roar of vehicles coming their way. The Soldiers were throwing what they had to the ex-prisoners.
    He got a pack of gum and went on about how delicious it was (he’d been eating potatoes peels with water so I can’t even imagine how good that gum was) He throughly enjoyed the taste of this delicious treat….. but didn’t know you were not to swallow it. Hats off to Our history!

Comments are closed.