On this day in 1869, Wm. Semple of Ohio was granted a patent on a form of chewing gum. Americans had long chewed a variation of an old Indian substance – – a combination of sap and paraffin.
But like many American invention, somewhere else another guy was working on the same project. In this case the somewhere else was Staten Island.
A guy named Santa Ana, who had a somewhat brief political and military career in Mexico (see “Alamo”), was trying to start a new career in his 70’s. And, where is a trendier, more intellectually challenging place than Staten Island. He was hoping to produce a substitute for rubber and had brought along some chicle (itself the sap of a Mexican plant).
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