Have you heard the expression “It’s the best invention since sliced bread”? Well, that only goes back to the 20th century. The invention of sliced bread occurred in 1828.
Inventing sliced bread in Missouri
Humans have been baking bread for millennia (around 30,000 years, we estimate). But pre-slicing it is another matter. And we have to admit that while bread baking has reinvented itself to make bread slices seem passé, it’s convenient to have!
According to History.com (cited below), “The first automatically sliced commercial loaves were produced on July 6, 1928, in Chillicothe, Missouri, using the machine invented by Otto Rohwedder, an Iowa-born, Missouri-based jeweler.”
Rohwedder had long tried to make a machine to slice bread but was thwarted for over a decade when a 1917 fire destroyed his factory, blueprints, and prototype.
But he persevered, and “in 1928, Rohwedder’s rebuilt “power-driven, multi-bladed” bread slicer was put into service at his friend Frank Bench’s Chillicothe Baking Company.”
The reaction to slicing
People seemed to know immediately what pre-sliced bread meant for convenience in the home. As the website recalls, “an enthusiastic report in the July 6, 1928, edition of the Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune…noted that while some people might find sliced bread ‘startling,’ the typical housewife could expect ‘a thrill of pleasure when she first sees a loaf of this bread with each slice the exact counterpart of its fellows. So neat and precise are the slices, and so definitely better than anyone could possibly slice by hand with a bread knife that one realizes instantly that here is a refinement that will receive a hearty and permanent welcome.'”
We’re only surprised that “some people” may have found sliced bread “startling.” But we know there will always be folks startled by new technology – in fact, we’ve been there. It’s hard when things change, but the convenience of sliced bread remains (as do beautiful artisan loaves without a knick in them). — WTF fun facts