One of life's simple pleasures -- and subsequent adornments under tabletops and chair seats -- was patented on this date in 1869: chewing gum.

The inventor was a dentist from Ohio, Dr. William Semple, who hoped that flavored gum would help people keep their teeth clean. Others, such as Thomas Adams and John Colgan, perfected the consistencies and flavors.

Gum was avidly accepted by the public, though criticized as a vulgar habit by newspaper editorials, politicians, clergymen and women's groups.

While some may still hold that view, lately about 100,000 tons of chewing gum are consumed in the U.S. annually. Manufactured value of both chewing and bubble gum is over $2 billion per year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Our favorite flavors are spearmint and and peppermint.