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A BRIEF HISTORY OF SPRUCE GUM

Courtesy of Bradford resident Bill McCue

Spruce gum was first commercialized in Bradford, Maine by John B. Curtis. In 1848, he and his brother manufactured State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum on top of a Franklin stove. Like many new products, sales were slow at first until people learned about the new gum. Back in those days, one penny bought two pieces of chewing gum. After achieving a reasonable level of success, in 1850, they added paraffin gums to their product line. Some of these paraffin flavors included: White Mountain, Biggest and Best, Four-in-Hand, Sugar Cream, and Licorice Lulu. They expanded their spruce gum flavors to include: American Flag, 200 Lump Spruce, Trunk Spruce, and Yankee Spruce.

Today, the John B. Curtis Free Library in Bradford stands as a reminder of his legacy.


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