The Teaberry Pixies were the advertising mascots for Teaberry Chewing Gum manufactured by the D. L. Clark Candy Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The advertisements featured a boy named Tommy Teaberry who visited pixies in the mountains who harvested the tea leaves used to flavor the Teaberry chewing gum.
Tommy’s adventures were also chronicled in a promotional book entitled “The Adventures of Tommy Teaberry” published in 1944 by Clark Bros. Chewing Gum Co.
In the book, Tommy finds teaberries growing in a mountain forest and learns the process of making Clark’s Teaberry Gum from old Tickleberry, a mountain pixie. With the help of his sons: Dixie, Rixie and Nixie; and his grandsons, Chickle, Tickle and Nickle, Tickleberry gathers all the teaberry leaves needed to make Teaberry Chewing Gum.
The illustrations in the book were created by Ben Jorj Harris (1904 – 1957), who also provided the drawings for the Teaberry Pixies that appeared in print ads during the 1940s.
“Leave the skyrockets to those who like their pleasure quick and fleeting. Depend on Clark’s TEABERRY Gum for sparkling flavor that lasts a long, enjoyable time. Nothing else comes close to its unique “mountain-tea” fragrance and freshness or to the big pleasure as such a small cost. The next time buy the pink package. Be sure it’s Clark’s, it’s sure to be good.” — Fourth of July ad copy for Teaberry Gum Ad.
Clark Candy also used pixie-like elves as decorations on their candy bar called CLARK’S DOUBLE HONEST SQUARE. The candy motto: “The taste tells the difference.”
“CLARK’S DOUBLE HONEST SQUARE is made by an organization that has devoted over a half century to the development and perfection of good candies. You can recommend DOUBLE HONEST SQUARE to your customers as a pure wholesome candy which will please them because HONEST SQUARE is an HONEST CONFECTION. The D. L. Clark Company Makers Pittsburgh, PA U.S.A.”
The Teaberry Chewing Gum pixies faded into advertisement history by the 1950s. But the gum itself would gain national attention in the 1960s when it was popularized in a series of commercials (produced by Pelican Films) featuring the music of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass and the tune originally titled “Mexican Shuffle.”
The ad spots depict people from all walks of life who pop Teaberry Gum in their mouths and experience the energetic flavor of the gum that motivates them to abruptly break into a dance-like shuffle for a few seconds.
As the company ad copy proclaimed, “The mild flavor—between mint and cinnamon, with a subtle kick—is much more refreshing than the hordes of extra-strong or fruity gums available nowadays. We guarantee a shuffle or two on your very first chew.”
NOTE: The D.L. Clark Company was founded in 1886 by David Lytle Clark (1864–1939), who was born in County Derry, Ireland in 1864. In 1872, his family moved to America and in 1875, migrated to Allegheny, Pennsylvania, now part of Pittsburgh, where David’s father, Samuel opened a grocery store.
In the early 1880s, David began to make candy at the store. Soon the business expanded and David moved his operations to McKeesport but returned to the North Side of Pittsburgh in the 1900s.
By the 1920s, the D. L. Clark Company was making about 150 different types of candy which would include the world famous Clark Bar.
D. L. Clark passed away on February 3, 1939. He is buried in the Homewood Cemetery in Pittsburgh.
The D. L. Clark Company remained in the hands of the Clark family until it was sold the Beatrice Food Company in 1955, then Leaf Inc. in 1983. It was renamed to Clark Bar America in 1995, and bought again in 1999 by New England Confectionary Company (NECCO), the oldest candy manufacturer in the United States. Teaberry gum is now manufactured by Clark Gum Company in Buffalo, New York.
In 1975, The city of Pittsburgh awarded a landmark plaque to the 1897 building at 503 Martindale Street where the Clark Candy Company operated in the early 1900s.
The flavor of Teaberry gum is a cross between cinnamon and mint, with a subtle kick. The pink gum earns its name from the Eastern Teaberry, a plant found the the eastern portions of the United States. In the Southeast, the term “teaberry” referred to the flavor of wintergreen.
Clark Gum Co.
1100 Military Road
Buffalo, NY 14217