the story begins in 1928 when Otto Frederick Rohwedder created his "greatest invention"...the loaf of pre-sliced bread. But, believe it or not, his invention was initially well-received. Before sliced bread came along, bread was either made at home or purchased in full loaves at the local bakery. Every time you wanted a slice of bread, meant that you had to get the knife and slice it off. The bread was often rough-cut and the slices were hardly ever the same. It was time-consuming if you needed many slices, the slices were never the same thickness; some too thick while others were too thin. As early as 1912 Rohwedder began working on a bread-slicing machine. Bakers initially laughed at his idea, pointing out that sliced bread would go state quickly and thus cost the consumer more money. To address the staleness problem, Rohwedder decided to use hat pins to keep the slices of bread together. But, as you can imagine, this idea didn't work out well; the hat pins kept falling out and marred the appearance of the bread. Not to be defeated, our sliced bread hero then added a feature to the Rohwedder bread slicing machine that wrapped the loaves of bread in wax paper as soon as the bread was sliced, thus ensuring freshness.
While most bakers remained skeptical one baker, Frank Bench in Chillicothe, Missouri, took a chance and bought a bread slicer from Rohwedder. "The very first loaf of pre-sliced bread went on store shelves on July 7, 1928. It was called Sliced Kleen Maid Bread" and it was a huge success. Bench's bread sales skyrocketed. In 1930, Wonder Bread began to produce commercially-made, pre-sliced bread. Soon, pre-sliced loaves of bread became a staple in American households and other companies jumped on the sliced bread bandwagon. Now, thanks to Rohwedder and Frank Bench for taking a chance on him, most humans can enjoy sliced bread in white, wheat, multi-grain, rye, and just about every other kind of bread you can think of. There aren't many people around today who can remember a time when there was no sliced bread, the universally-agreed-upon 'greatest thing.'
Should you go on a picnic tomorrow, July 7th, remember to celebrate sliced bread when you're making all those yummy sandwiches. I don't know that I'd go so far as to call it the greatest invention, but it really is a time-saver.
Whatever your plans are for the weekend, have fun and stay safe. I hope to see you all back here on Monday. Until then, I wish you