Thomas Adams, Jr – Short Biography
Thomas Adams, Jr. succeeded in the world of business with a stick of gum.
That’s right, this imaginative entrepreneur struck it big time when he got the idea of making chewing gum out of surplus materials he had originally earmarked for manufacturing synthetic rubber products.
This fairly sticky idea is what made Thomas Adams, Jr. a hugely successful businessman, chewing his way all the way to the bank.
Thomas Adams’ Sticky Road to Success
In the 1850s, two men met. One of them was photographer Thomas Adams; the other was Alamo conqueror and Mexico president Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. In the 1860s, Adams switched from photography to a lot of other trades that while unprofitable, served as outlets for his inventiveness. Santa Anna was exiled and came into contact with Adams in Staten Island.
Santa Anna mentioned something that might make Adams rich. It was chicle, a gummy substance that Mexicans were extracting from sapota trees and chewing since everyone can remember.
Adams first tried converting the chicle into synthetic rubber products. He took a stab at making masks, toys, rain boots, bike tires, and others but they all failed.
Then one day in 1869, he popped a piece of surplus chicle stock in his mouth and liked how it tasted. He thought of adding flavor to the chicle. Shortly after that, the world’s first-ever chewing gum factory was born. February 1871 saw Adams’ gum being sold in drugstores for a penny each.
Adams had to decide on a name for the product – Adams New York No. 1. Each box costs a dollar. Adams brought the boxes with him during his regular trips in the West as a salesman. While he didn’t sell anything the first few tries, this didn’t discourage Adams.
Urging drugstores to display his product on their counters, orders were soon pouring in. With such encouraging results, Adams left his other endeavors to concentrate on his chewing gum business. Sales grew rapidly so Adams rented a small building in Jersey City and hired around 30 women to wrap the chewing gum by hand.
Adams later formed the American Chicle Company in 1899 after attaining public acceptance of his unique product. He tirelessly went about promoting his product while serving as president of the company for nearly two decades.
The Thomas Adams, Jr. Quick Bio
Full Name: Thomas Adams, Jr.
Birthplace: New York
Company: American Chicle Company