Chewing Gum in Skaneateles, circa 1850

“Gum Tragacanth was obtained from the drug store when a half dime was available, and this, with the result of a raid on mother’s cake of beeswax (then an adjunct of every housewife’s sewing kit), made a glorious wad of chewing gum for diversion among the household lambs. Of course, many were left out in the cold because they could not obtain the materials. So the girls used to visit the mill and get a small quantity of wheat grains which, when chewed up, made a fair substitute, while the boys would peel off the rubber coating of carriage tops, and this made equally good jaw-working material.”

— William Lawrence White in a letter to the Skaneateles Democrat circa 1910, reprinted in the Skaneateles Press, August 13, 1937, gathered in Sedgwick Smith’s unpublished Skaneateles history, transcribed by Beth Batlle, Town of Skaneateles Historian


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