BEEMAN, EDWIN E. (Mar. 1839 - 6 Nov. 1906) became the Chewing Gum King after introducing Beeman's Pepsin Chewing Gum. Born to Julius and Margaret Beeman in LaGrange, OH, Edwin grew up in Lorain and Erie counties. After 2 years at Oberlin College, he began studying medicine under his father and joined him in the drug business in Cleveland in 1863-64. Beeman then practiced in Birmingham, OH, for 12 years and then in Wakeman, OH, for 6 years. A specialist in digestive disorders, Beeman discovered that pepsin, an extract from hog stomachs, could provide relief from indigestion. Around 1883, Beeman returned to Cleveland to manufacture pepsin.

In 1888 Beeman organized the Beeman Chemical Co. in partnership with Albert C. Johnson, Chris Grover, and William Cain. The company first sold pepsin in powder form but sales were lackluster. In Jan. 1890 the company's bookkeeper, Nellie M. Horton, suggested that Beeman add pepsin to chewing gum. The following month, Beeman's Pepsin Gum debuted, but sales were disappointing, perhaps because Beeman opted to put a picture of a pig on the wrapper. Horton soon convinced Beeman that a different (pig-free) logo would help and, once that change was implemented, the product took off.

Pepsin chewing gum’s success led to a company reorganization in 1891; Beeman's earlier partners sold their interests to GEORGE WORTHINGTON, Jas. M. Worthington, and James Nicholl. Nellie Horton became a stockholder and assistant secretary and treasurer. By 1898, the company's gum sales totaled $408,685 and profits totaled $131,487. In June 1899 the directors voted to sell the company to the American Chicle Co. Production ceased in 1978 due to lagging sales. However, Beeman's Chewing Gum—sans Pepsin—is now occasionally produced by Cadbury Adams as a nostalgia gum, along with Clove and Black Jack.

Besides his business and medical interests, Beeman served 4 terms on CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL and was a Royal Arch Mason. Beeman married Mary Cobb in 1862. They had 2 children: Harrie L. and Lester A. Beeman. Edwin Beeman is buried in Harvard Grove Cemetery.

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