Sydel Wiegand

Written by Sydel Wiegand

Modified & Updated: 30 May 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


William Wrigley Jr. is a name that is synonymous with success in the business world. As the founder of the world-famous Wrigley Company, he revolutionized the chewing gum industry and became one of the wealthiest individuals of his time. But there is more to William Wrigley Jr. than just his entrepreneurial spirit and financial achievements. In this article, we will uncover 16 astonishing facts about this legendary figure, shedding light on his personal life, philanthropy, and the impact he made on popular culture. From his humble beginnings to his rise to fame and fortune, get ready to be amazed by the captivating life story of William Wrigley Jr., a man who left an indelible mark on the world.

Key Takeaways:

  • William Wrigley Jr. started as a soap salesman and revolutionized the chewing gum industry with iconic flavors like Juicy Fruit and Doublemint, leaving a lasting legacy in the world of confections.
  • Wrigley’s love for baseball led to the iconic Wrigley Field, and his commitment to quality and innovation continues to shape the success of the Wrigley brand today.
Table of Contents

From Soap to Gum

Before making a name for himself in the chewing gum industry, William Wrigley Jr. was a successful soap salesman. He would offer free packs of baking powder as a bonus with each purchase, but soon realized that customers were more interested in the baking powder than the soap. This realization led him to shift his focus to the chewing gum business.

The Birth of Juicy Fruit

In 1893, Wrigley introduced Juicy Fruit, one of the most iconic chewing gum flavors of all time. The distinctive yellow packaging and delicious fruity taste made Juicy Fruit an instant hit and continues to be a favorite among gum enthusiasts worldwide.

Spearheading the Mint Revolution

Wrigley revolutionized the chewing gum industry with his introduction of Spearmint gum in It quickly gained popularity due to its refreshing flavor and long-lasting taste, becoming the world’s first successful stick gum brand.

A Breath of Fresh Air

In 1914, Wrigley launched Doublemint gum, which became known for its iconic “Double Your Pleasure” advertising campaign. Doublemint’s minty flavor and breath-freshening properties helped solidify its position as one of the leading gum brands in the world.

Wrigley Field

William Wrigley Jr.’s love for baseball led him to purchase the Chicago Cubs in As a tribute, he renamed the team’s home stadium to Wrigley Field, which remains one of the oldest and most beloved ballparks in Major League Baseball.

Chocolate Dreams

In a bold departure from gum, Wrigley ventured into the chocolate industry and launched the Wrigley Chocolate Company in the early 1900s. Unfortunately, the company didn’t achieve the same level of success as his gum brands and was ultimately sold.

A Flavorful Legacy

Even after his passing in 1932, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company continued to flourish under the leadership of his son, Philip K. Wrigley. The company expanded its product range to include candies, mints, and other confectionery items while staying true to its gum heritage.

A Pioneer in Advertising

Wrigley was known for his innovative and effective advertising campaigns. He invested heavily in promoting his gum brands through various mediums, including radio, billboards, and sponsored events, making Wrigley gum a household name around the world.

A Philanthropic Vision

William Wrigley Jr. had a strong sense of philanthropy and believed in giving back to society. He established the Catalina Island Conservancy in 1972, which is dedicated to preserving the natural beauty of Catalina Island for future generations.

Minting Success

Thanks to his unwavering dedication, William Wrigley Jr. grew his company into a global empire. Today, the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company is a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated and continues to be a leader in the chewing gum industry.

The Wrigley Building

As a testament to his success, William Wrigley Jr. commissioned the construction of the iconic Wrigley Building in Chicago. Completed in 1921, this architectural masterpiece has become an emblem of the city’s skyline.

A Sailing Enthusiast

Outside of his business ventures, Wrigley was an avid sailor and owned several yachts throughout his life. He particularly enjoyed sailing in the waters around Catalina Island, where he also owned property.

A Visionary Leader

Wrigley’s innovative marketing strategies and commitment to quality made him an influential figure in the business world. His emphasis on customer satisfaction and product excellence set the stage for future success in the chewing gum industry.

A Global Impact

Wrigley’s gum brands have achieved worldwide recognition and are enjoyed by millions of people every day. The company’s commitment to producing high-quality products has helped establish its presence in over 180 countries.

A Lasting Legacy

The strong foundation laid by William Wrigley Jr. continues to shape the success of his namesake company. His entrepreneurial spirit, dedication to innovation, and commitment to customer satisfaction remain at the core of the Wrigley brand.

A Familial Connection

William Wrigley Jr.’s great-granddaughter, Helen M. Hostetter, currently serves as a member of the Wrigley Company Board of Directors, ensuring that the family’s passion for gum and confections endures for generations to come.

These 16 astonishing facts about William Wrigley Jr. showcase his remarkable journey as a visionary entrepreneur and the indelible mark he left on the chewing gum industry. From revolutionizing the way we enjoy gum to his philanthropic endeavors, Wrigley’s legacy continues to inspire and captivate.


In conclusion, William Wrigley Jr. was an exceptional figure whose life and accomplishments continue to astonish us. From humble beginnings as a soap salesman to becoming the “Gum King” and transforming the chewing gum industry, Wrigley’s influence is undeniable. His innovative marketing techniques, entrepreneurial spirit, and passion for quality products paved the way for his success.Not only did Wrigley revolutionize the gum industry, but he also made significant contributions to the city of Chicago. His philanthropic efforts supported various charitable organizations, proving that he was not only a savvy businessman but also a compassionate individual.Wrigley’s legacy lives on not only through the enduring popularity of his gum brands but also through the positive impact he had on the industry and community. His journey serves as an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs worldwide, showcasing that with hard work, determination, and a bit of creativity, anything is possible.


Q: When was William Wrigley Jr. born?
A: William Wrigley Jr. was born on September 30, 1861.

Q: How did Wrigley build his empire in the chewing gum industry?
A: Wrigley built his empire by introducing free gum samples with the purchase of his soap products. He later realized the demand for the gum exceeded the demand for soap and focused solely on chewing gum.

Q: What were some of Wrigley’s notable marketing strategies?
A: Wrigley implemented various marketing strategies, including distributing free chewing gum samples, advertising in popular magazines, and using celebrities to endorse his products.

Q: Did Wrigley contribute to any philanthropic causes?
A: Yes, Wrigley was known for his philanthropic efforts, supporting educational institutions, charitable organizations, and contributing to the development of the city of Chicago.

Q: Are Wrigley’s gum brands still popular today?
A: Absolutely! Wrigley’s gum brands like Juicy Fruit and Doublemint continue to be popular choices worldwide, maintaining their position as some of the most recognized chewing gum brands.

William Wrigley Jr.'s legacy extends beyond his chewing gum empire. Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, stands as a testament to his love for baseball. Wrigley's innovative marketing strategies revolutionized the chewing gum industry, making his products household names. His philanthropic endeavors, including the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, showcase his commitment to giving back to society. Explore more fascinating facts about the Chicago Cubs, the history of chewing gum, and the power of philanthropy in our related articles.

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