The first bread slicer was invented by Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa, in 1912. The idea was unpopular among bakers, who feared that pre-sliced bread would go stale faster, leading to spoiled inventory and dissatisfied customers.
The project almost ended in a fire in 1917, when a fire destroyed the prototype along with the blueprints. Rohwedder soldiered on. By 1927, he had scraped up enough financing to rebuild his bread slicer.
Frank Bench, a personal friend of the inventor, was the first to install the machine. The first pre-sliced loaf was sold in July of the following year. Customers loved the convenience and Bench’s bread sales shot through the roof.
Sliced bread became a national hit when the Continental Baking Company, then-owner of the “Wonder Bread” brand, began using a modified version of Rowhedder’s machine in 1930. Sliced bread was here to stay. Sort of.
These were the early…
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