Wrigley, William, Jr.

Wrigley, William, Jr.

(1861–1932) businessman; born in Philadelphia. He left his father's soap factory in 1891 when he moved to Chicago. There his uncle supplied seed money on the condition Wrigley take a cousin as partner, and they started manufacturing soap, baking powder, and later, chewing gum; the gum became so popular, they dropped the other products. In 1899 he introduced spearmint gum, which lagged in sales until a major advertising campaign in 1907; within a year spearmint gum sales increased tenfold. In 1911 he bought Zeno Manufacturing Company, the company that contracted to make his gum, and the William Wrigley, Jr., Company was founded. In 1916 he bought a controlling interest in the Chicago National League baseball team, the Cubs, and purchased outright minor league teams in Los Angeles and Reading, Pa. (The Cubs ballpark was renamed Wrigley Field in 1926.) In 1919 he bought Santa Catalina Island, off the California coast, which he developed into a resort and on which he is buried.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.