23 Jan 15|Innovation

Bread has been a staple part of the human diet since the Neolithic era…so it’s been around for a long time. 

Bread has been a staple part of the human diet since the Neolithic era…so it’s been around for a long time. Bread has been used in religious ceremonies and festivals and culturally, countries can be identified by the type of bread they serve. And once bartering and then monetary exchange began – bread was baked, sold and served in loaves. This continued for many many years until…

In the 1900’s an inventor and jeweller (you need to be creative in order to be innovative), Otto Frederick Rohwedder, started toying with the idea of a bread slicing machine. Up until this time, bread was sometimes sliced at the place of purchase, but usually by the lady of the house when the bread made it home. Actually it was also very common for bread to baked by the lady of the house in the house!

Back to the jeweller – Rohwedder owned three jewellery stores, which he sold to raise the capitol to develop his idea of a bread slicer. According to sources, his first prototype failed – it may have had something to do with the fact that the bread was held together by metal pins!

In 1917 he had another set back – the factory that was to produce the first bread slicing machine was burnt down along with the blue prints and the prototype. For the next ten years Otto worked as an investment agent and gathered a few of his own investors along the way.

By 1927 Rohwedder had developed a prototype that not only sliced bread but wrapped it as well,   ensuring the bread was kept fresh. He managed to convince a baker friend of his to use the machine and on July 7 1928 bread was sliced and wrapped commercially for the first time. By the way – it was called Sliced Kleen Maid Bread…

I must admit to quietly giggling when I read some of the promotion used at the time;

the housewife can well experience a thrill of pleasure when she first sees a loaf of this bread, with each slice the exact couterpart of its fellows

Priceless! Of course sliced bread then gave a much needed boost to the sales of the pop up toaster which had been invented a couple of years earlier by Charles Strite. I suppose that could be described as the best thing since sliced bread…

the housewife can well experience a thrill of pleasure when she first sees a loaf of this bread, with each slice the exact couterpart of its fellows

the housewife can well experience a thrill of pleasure when she first sees a loaf of this bread, with each slice the exact couterpart of its fellows

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