In 1928, bubble gum was invented by a man named Walter E. Diemer. Here's what Walter Diemer, the inventor himself, said about it just a year or two before he died: "It was an accident." "I was doing something else," Mr. Diemer explained, "and ended up with something with bubbles." And history took one giant pop forward. What Mr. Diemer was supposed to be doing, back in 1928, was working as an accountant for the Fleer Chewing Gum Company in Philadelphia; what he wound up doing in his spare time was playing around with new gum recipes. But this latest brew of Walter Diemer's was -- unexpectedly, crucially -- different. It was less sticky than regular chewing gum. It also stretched more easily. Walter Diemer, 23 years old, saw the bubbles. He saw the possibilities. One day he carried a five-pound glop of the stuff to a grocery store; it sold out in a single afternoon.
Before long, the folks at Fleer were marketing Diemer's creation and Diemer himself was teaching cheeky salesmen to blow bubbles, to demonstrate exactly what made this gum different from all other gums. The only food coloring in the factory was pink. Walter used it. That is why most bubble gum today is pink.
Gilbert Mustin, President of Fleer named the gum Dubble Bubble and it controlled the bubble-gum market unchallenged for years, at least until Bazooka came along to share the wealth. Walter Diemer stayed with Fleer for decades, eventually becoming a senior vice president.
He never received royalties for his invention, his wife told the newspapers, but he didn't seem to mind; knowing what he'd created was reward enough. Sometimes he'd invite a bunch of kids to the house and tell them the story of his wonderful, accidental invention. Then he'd hold bubble-blowing contests for them.