Gum Wrapper Chains
Gary Duschl (pictured below) of Virginia Beach, VA currently holds the record for the world's longest gum wrapper chain. According to his website he began the chain on March 11, 1965; it weighs 1,037 pounds, it took over 27,000 hours to create, is over 14 miles long and it is made of only Wriggley wrappers. You can read other fun facts about the chain at his website.
Pictured below the photo of Gary is a close-up of the gum wrapper chain I made in the '70s. My chain measures almost 70 feet, a scant amount compared to Gary's, and is made up of all kinds of gum wrappers, not just Wriggley's. It's amazing when I think about it that I saved or found that many gum wrappers, but I did have suppliers: Grandma's used up pack of gum, gum wrappers from my parents, my own gum wrappers (I was rather partial to Carefree Bubble Gum) and yes, I do admit — gum wrappers that were thrown away.
I've always been a scavenger by nature and the game of finding the wrappers and the craft of making the chain appealed to me very much. It makes me happy when I pull it out, feel it and smell it (ah, the nostalgia of old paper) and think that this chain reminds me of how I spent my time and what fired me up when I was younger. We didn't call it "upcycling" then. We just called it fun.
Gary Duschl posing with his record-holding gum wrapper chain
My gum wrapper chain from the 1970s