The search for the perfect bubble gum wasn't an easy one. About a half century after manufacturers first produced chewing gum, Frank Fleer, founder of the Fleer Chewing Gum Company, made his first attempt at producing bubble gum. The resulting product was a mess -- literally. It was so sticky that the bubbles would stick to everything and ruin your clothes. What's more, Fleer's product was so thick that it was hard to chew and, worse still, virtually flavorless. The company would experiment with different bubblegum formulas for the next 20 years, but it would take an accountant at Fleer's by the name of Walter Diemer to concoct the perfect batch of bubble gum.
Using his free time to tinker with different ingredients, Diemer stumbled on the secret to creating the perfect bubble: latex. By adding a special type of latex and a bit of pink food coloring, Diemer created a recipe for bubble gum that would inspire countless copycats. Not only was Diemer's bubble gum easier to chew than Fleer's earlier concoctions, it wasn't nearly as sticky, easily coming off of skin and clothing.
Bubble gum turned out to be such a novel product that the Fleer Company hired a team of people responsible for teaching customers how to blow bubbles. Before long, Diemer's Dubble Bubble was delighting kids across the country and making millions of dollars for the Fleer Company in the process. These days, the bubblegum industry has blown up. Forty million pieces are sold in North America every day, equating to $500 million in sales every year [source: Rogers].