Friday, June 19, 2015

History Of Sliced Bread...!

I had read about this before, but when I found it again at History.com I thought I'd post it here.

Few of us can imagine going through the day without having a slice or two of bread. I know I can't! Sliced bread is a more modern invention than you might think. Here is a brief history of it's origin.

Who Invented Sliced Bread?
By Elizabeth Nix


stacey_newman/iStockphotos.com

Bread is one of the world’s oldest prepared foods. There’s evidence humans were whipping up a crude form of the stuff some 30,000 years ago. Sliced bread, however, has been around for less than a century. The first automatically sliced commercial loaves were produced on July 6, 1928, in Chillicothe, Missouri, using a machine invented by Otto Rohwedder, an Iowa-born, Missouri-based jeweler. Rohwedder’s quest to make sliced bread a reality was not without its challenges. A 1917 fire destroyed his prototype and blueprints, and he also faced skepticism from bakers, who thought factory-sliced loaves would quickly go stale or fall apart. Nevertheless, in 1928, Rohwedder’s rebuilt “power-driven, multi-bladed” bread slicer was put into service at his friend Frank Bench’s Chillicothe Baking Company.

Rohwedder’s newfangled contraption was greeted with an enthusiastic report in the July 6, 1928, edition of the Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune, which 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.” The article also recounted that “considerable research” had gone into determining the right thickness for each slice: slightly less than half an inch.

Sliced bread didn’t take long to become a hit around the United States, even as some bakers contended it was just a fad, and by 1930 it could be found in most towns across the country. By that point, the majority of Americans were eating commercially made bread, compared with just decades earlier, when most of the supply still was homemade. The factory-produced loaves were designed to be softer than those prepared at home or at small, local bakeries because the bread-buying public had come to equate “squeezable softness” with freshness, according to “White Bread” by Aaron Bobrow-Strain. The timing therefore was right for an automatic slicing machine because, as Bobrow-Strain says, these softer, “modern loaves had become almost impossible to slice neatly at home.”

One of the first major brands to distribute sliced bread was Wonder, starting in 1930. Wonder Bread originally appeared in stores in 1921 in Indianapolis, where it was manufactured by the Taggart Baking Company. An executive there dreamed up the bread’s name after being filled with wonder while watching the International Balloon Race at the Indianapolis Speedway. After the Continental Baking Company bought Taggart in 1925, Wonder was sold nationally; the bread’s popularity soared once it was marketed in sliced form. During World War II, factory-sliced bread, including Wonder, was briefly banned by the U.S. government in an effort to conserve resources, such as the paper used to wrap each loaf to help maintain freshness. In 2012, Wonder Bread disappeared completely from store shelves after its then-owner, Hostess Brands (which also made Twinkies and Ding Dongs, among other famous snacks), declared bankruptcy. Thankfully for fans of the iconic bread, another company stepped in and re-launched the Wonder brand in 2013.

I'm certainly glads that bread comes already sliced, but I still enjoy baking my own from time to time. Of course then I have to slice it myself...but that's OK.

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

8 comments:

Chickenmom said...

When we were kids, store bought bread was wrapped in waxed paper. The little square paper ends that held the wrapper together were collected in put in a little book given out by the bread company. If you were lucky enough to collect them all, you wound up with a little story book.

linda m said...

When I was growing up my mother always baked our bread. Later on she started buying bread from the store, but I don't think it was Wonder bread. I can't imagine bread today that isn't pre-sliced. However, all these new Artisan breads aren't sliced and are wrapped in waxed paper or brown bags. Beautiful cool morning here in WI. Would love to sit a spell with you on the patio and have coffee. Have a great weekend.

Hermit's Baby Sis said...

Bubba -
Your breads are always a wonder of their own! But I remember Mama baking bread, cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls ...seems we always had homemade bread. I really miss those cinnamon rolls, and I know she really misses making them, too.
Big hugs -

HermitJim said...

Hey Phyllis...
What a great story! Never heard of that before and I ove finding out tings like this!

Thanks for sharing it and for coming by today!



Hey Linda...
When we were younger, walking home from school I could always telol when Mom was baking. I could smell the bread from the end of the street where we lived. That smell still stays with me!

Thanks for dropping by today!



Hey Sis...
Some of our best memories are food related sometimes. That's a good thing, I reckon!

Thanks Sis, for stopping in today!

Dizzy-Dick said...

Some just pull off chunks of bread and eat it. My grandma always baked bread and I just loved the smell of it when it was baking. No other bread tastes as good as homemade; of course that is true about almost all foods.

Ted Webb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ted Webb said...


I was just thinking sandwich sliced



The origin of the word 'sandwich' for an item of food may have originated from a story about John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich. He didn't really 'invent' the sandwich but he may have made it popular.

It is said that in approx.1762, he asked for meat to be served between slices of bread, to avoid interrupting a gambling game. This story may have been rumour or adverse propoganda, put about by his rivals.

HermitJim said...

Hey Dizzy...
Right you are about the best smell being home baking! Taste best to me!

Thanks for the visit today!



Hey Ted...
I've heard that story and have to admit that I am inclined to believe it for the most part.

Hey, thanks for coming over today!