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Modjeskas and Flavored Chewing Gum

Here’s something to chew on. Did you know that the first flavored chewing gum was created by a Louisvillian?

In the late 1870s, pharmacist John Colgan introduced his “Taffy Tolu,” the first produced flavored chewing gum (although Colgan did not patent it). He used balsam of tolu, a fragrant medicinal herb used to flavor cough syrups, as sweetener. His creation was so successful that Colgan sold his pharmacy in order to produce it full-time. In fact, Taffy Tolu became one of the most extensively marketed Louisville-made products at the end of the 19th century. And when it was sold at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, Taffy Tolu Chewing Gum became an international sensation.

Another treat created in Louisville is the Modjeska, a marshmallow hand-dipped in liquid caramel. This delightful confection is named after Helena Modjeska, a famous Polish actress who caught the eye of local candymaker Anton Busath in the 1870s. To partake of this tasty treat, stop by Muth’s Candy Store in downtown Louisville for traditional and chocolate-covered versions.

Program 104
Relocating to Louisville, Caufield’s Novelty, the Louisville Science Center, the history of some local sweet treats unwrapped, and a preview of KET’s unique new national series Art to Heart. (#104)