Tablets for tums. Tums for the stomach, as the old ads claimed. “Tums de tum tum Tums,” sung by a barbershop quartet to the tune of the Dragnet song.
Since 1988, films have been produced in St. Louis in a five-story redbrick structure near the stadium. However, the interior of the building is kept secretive at a pharmaceutical level to prevent anyone from stealing secrets or tampering with them.
You can imagine the gastric acid that Tums have neutralized: car crashes, insomniac snacks, and tax audits. This brand is the leader in the industry with more than 60,000,000 bottles and rolls per year, almost double that of Rolaids. This is where 99.9% of the Tums, which total more than 6 billion tablets are manufactured, are also made. (The .1 percent? Wrafton Laboratories, England.
Marketers for Tums love to praise the product’s simplicity and old-fashioned design. Calcium carbonate is also known as chalk or limestone. The way Tums were made is the purity, sweetness, and mouthfeel.
The Tums have gone a bit fancier. They are available in hard-chew and soft-chew tablets, as well as sugared or non-sugary, in a variety of flavors. The barbershop quartet advertisement has been replaced with a campaign where a man is eating soft tacos while driving.
Misery is not new. The Sumerians created a recipe that included milk, peppermint, and sodium carbonate. However, the calcium carbonate in Tums has a longer shelf life. The formula was created by Jim Howe, a St. Louis pharmacist whose wife suffered from indigestion. They were a huge hit when she gave the homemade minty meds to cruise passengers. Howe and his uncle then formed the Lewis-Howe Co. by naming their product. Jefferson Barracks nurse won the contest with “Tums.”
(A sweet side note. Menlo Smith made his dad’s powdered drink mixture into candy, but his mom found it too messy. He tried Pixy Stix. Then, his neighbor, the Tums factory ran the powder through the presses to create SweeTARTS.
Revlon purchased the Lewis-Howe Co. in 1978. Later, a subsidiary sold it to GlaxoSmithKline, the forerunner of the current owner. There were deep rumblings this summer that GSK might sell its consumer products to focus on pharmaceuticals and vaccines. Both Kellogg and Coca-Cola were interested. In September, Nestle, PepsiCo, and Kellogg were among the list of potential bidders for a majority stake.
Will Tums remain put? Sales might increase in St. Louis until that is certain.