Everyone has heard the phrase “it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread,” used to hype everything from toasters to cell phones.
In 1927 Otto Rohwedder designed a machine that not only sliced the bread but also wrapped it. His new and improved commercial bread slicer, was completed in 1928. Rohwedder’ filed his application for a patent on November 26, 1928 and formed a company Mac-Roh Sales & Manufacturing to build and sell the bread slicer machine. There were objections from skeptic bakers that pre-sliced bread would quickly dry out.
Rohwedder took his slicer to the Chillicothe Baking Company in Chillicothe, Missouri where he convinced a baker friend and owner of the company, M. Frank Bench, to use it. History was made on July 7, 1928, when bread was sliced and wrapped commercially for the first time by a bread slicing machine. For the record, the brand name was Sliced Kleen Maid Bread. Customers marveled at the evenly sliced pieces, which were handy for making sandwiches and toast.
The Continental Baking Company altered the course of bread forever in 1930 when it introduced sliced Wonder Bread. Sales were slow at first as suspicious consumers were slow to accept a pre-sliced bread, but convenience overruled apprehension and soon everyone wanted sliced Wonder Bread on their dinner table.
Editor’s note: I wonder what benchmark people used BEFORE “it was the best thing since sliced bread.?” Or what symbol was used to represent an idea before the lightbulb over the head? A candle?
Photo by albionmich.com.