Saturday, October 11, 2014

Chattanooga Chew Chew

While I was researching my Modern Hobby Guide material two or three years ago, I found a funny thing.  There was a trademark registered by Bubbles Inc. (later assigned to Topps) for Bazooka that indicated the first appearance of this iconic bubble gum occurred on July 12, 1938.

That's an interesting date since it precedes the actual founding of Topps by about five months. I am also wondering if Bubbles Inc. preceded Topps as a company even though the July 1938 date likely refers to Brock's original trademarking of the name and/or logo (but not the soldier as the bazooka itself was not around until 1942) .The soldier and rocket launcher logo is interesting too as it not one seen anywhere else.  Further research led me to this entry:

This is additional information from the US Government database of Patents and Trademarks and it confirms the previous application was successful. First use on April 21, 1947 would have been locally in New York City; the July 23, 1947 date marks the first time it was used in Interstate commerce.

So far so good, we just have a mystery logo.  But a little more digging revealed this nugget:

Brock Candy (once briefly discussed here in connection with the trademark) was a fixture in the Chattanooga confectionery business at the time of this filing and that city figures prominently in the history of Topps as they bought another concern there called Bennett-Hubbard in 1943 and turned it into their southern plant before it was closed up in 1951. Chattanooga was also quite close to Fort Ogelthorpe, Georgia where Phil Shorin, a Topps founder, was stationed during World War 1 and would have been a prime recreational area when on leave from the base.

Bazooka as can be plainly seen, was used locally starting on January 4, 1937.  I can't find the one linking document (not all old records are digitized) but I suspect Topps bought the brand name at some point from Brock through Bubbles Inc. sometime in early 1947.  Brock was paying back a payroll loan at the time and I am thinking the brand was not in use after the war. I can't prove it but it makes a lot of sense and there is no way the Chattanooga connection is a coincidence, as there are no coincidences when it comes to the Shorin family and their businesses.

Since I was rooting around in the databases I searched out the record for Bazooka Joe and found this:

This dates Joe and the gang to August 1954, although BFF o'the Archive Jeff Shepherd feels it was a few months earlier.

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