1904 – 1998
Who was Walter Diemer?
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Diemer was working as an accountant at Fleer in 1926 when the company president sought to cut costs by making their own gum base. The company's founder, Frank Henry Fleer, had previously made a batch of bubble gum in 1906 which he called "Blibber Blubber", but it was too sticky and easily broke.
Although an accountant by trade, Diemer liked to experiment with gum recipes in his spare time. In doing so, he accidentally stumbled upon a unique recipe. The gum was pink because it was the only food coloring in the factory, which is the reason most gum today is pink.
Compared to standard chewing gum, the gum was less sticky, would not stick to the face, and yet stretched more easily. Diemer saw the possibilities, and using a salt water taffy wrapping machine, wrapped one hundred pieces of his creation to test market in a local mom-and-pop candy store. Priced at one penny a piece, the gum sold out in one day.
Fleer began marketing the new gum as "Dubble Bubble" and Diemer himself taught salesmen how to blow bubbles as a selling point for the gum, helping them to demonstrate how Dubble Bubble differed from all other chewing gums. Sold at the price a penny a piece, sales of Dubble Bubble surpassed US$ 1.5 million in the first year. However, Diemer did not patent his invention and competition soon arose as bubble gum became a popular and inexpensive treat during the Great Depression.
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