AKA Walter E. Diemer
Birthplace: Philadelphia, PA
Location of death: Lancaster, PA
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business, Inventor
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Invented bubble gum
People had been chewing gum-like substances for fun for centuries, and commercially-produced chewing gum had been available since 1848, but Frank Fleer (1860-1921), founder of the Fleer Corporation, dreamed of blowing gum bubbles. He made a gum in 1908 that was bubble-able, but the texture was so dense it was difficult to chew, it held flavor poorly, and the gum was so sticky a popped bubble meant ruined clothes. Fleer put his concoction aside, and eventually retired and died before Walter Diemer was hired at the Fleer Corporation, as a cost accountant.
Diemer began experimenting with some of the plant's extra equipment on his lunch break and after hours, and despite having no training in confections or chemistry, through trial and error he found the missing ingredient -- a natural form of latex. Adding a little latex to the recipe allowed bubbles to expand smoothly, and let the exploded bubble of gum be peeled easily off of clothes and skin. Diemer's discovery came in 1928, and the Fleer Corporation marketed it as Dubble Bubble and made millions of dollars. The patent and all the profits went to the company, but Diemer was eventually promoted to senior vice president. "I've done something with my life," he explained in retirement. "I've made kids happy around the world."
Wife: Adelaide Diemer (d. 1990, one son, one daughter)
Wife: Florence Freeman Kohler Diemer (m. 1996)
Fleer Corporation Vice President (1930-70)
Fleer Corporation Board of Directors (1970-85)
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