Who Exactly Invented Sliced Bread?

Who Exactly Invented Sliced Bread?

The phrase “the best thing since sliced bread” is used so often that most of us don’t really think about it much. It’s just a handy go-to saying when we want to express the convenience of a product or service, but it’s really quite an odd way of doing it. Here’s a quick look at where the phrase first came from.

The pre-sliced loaf was first sold in America in 1928. Although some form of mechanical bread cutting device had been around since the 1860s, it was another few decades before the technology took off. This was mainly because mass-produced loaves which were of uniform size, shape, and consistency were needed to make them effective.

Once bread-making had developed to allow hundreds of standard sized loaves to be produced in one batch, the first bread slicing machine soon followed. The breakthrough model was invented by Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Iowa. It was taken up by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Missouri, The Atlantic explains.

“The best thing since sliced bread”, you probably won’t be surprised to learn, started life as an advertising slogan for the rather splendidly named Wonder Bread brand. They were the first commercial bread maker to distribute pre-sliced, pre-wrapped loaves.

By the 1950’s, sliced bread had spread worldwide, including the UK, where 80% of loaves were now sold pre-sliced. However, during World War II, there was a brief ban on the sale of sliced bread in the US as a misguided attempt at food rationing. One woman was prompted to complain to the New York Times:

“I should like to let you know how important sliced bread is to the morale and saneness of a household. My husband and four children are all in a rush during and after breakfast. Without ready-sliced bread I must do the slicing for toast—two pieces for each one—that’s ten.

Fortunately, the ban was short-lived, and the world has enjoyed the convenience of sliced bread ever since!


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By | 2022-01-28T14:24:06+00:00 January 28th, 2022|Blog|Comments Off on Who Exactly Invented Sliced Bread?

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