Eighty-five years of the best thing since... This week marks the anniversary of sliced bread

 

As headlines go, “Sliced bread is made here” is perhaps not the most compelling in newspaper history. Still, those five words, splashed across the front page of Missouri’s Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune in 1928, marked the moment the world discovered the greatest thing since, well, ever.

This week marks the 85th anniversary of sliced bread. Its invention, overtaking the wheel as man’s defining achievement, spelt an end to hacked-up planks of loaf and minutes (or more!) of unnecessary morning labour. It seems few technological breakthroughs have gained quite the same level of cult status among consumers.

At the time, it was groundbreaking. “The idea of sliced bread may be startling for some people,” the Constitution-Tribune passionately reported. “Certainly it represents a definite departure from the usual manner of supplying the consumer with loaves… but one cannot help to be won over to a realisation that here indeed is a type of service which is sound, sensible and in every way a progressive refinement in bakers’ bread service.”

Indeed, the technology required was impressive. The challenge was to slice bread without making it go stale. Otto Frederick Rohwedder managed to do this, designing a machine that could slice and wrap bread in one fell swoop, holding the slices together tight enough to keep it fresh.

As the Constitution-Tribune explained: “So perfect is the slicing and so well is the loaf held together that there is appreciably no more moisture escaping from between the slices than escapes through the pores of the uncut crust.”

Still, perhaps the truly greatest thing about sliced bread (apart from sandwiches) is the phrase it created. The origin of the phrase is largely attributed to the marketing of America’s Wonder Bread – one of the first major brands to mass-market pre-sliced bread in the 1930s.

But a similar style boast was also made by the Chillicothe Bake House – the first to make commercial use of Rohwedder’s contraption and the subject of the original report, which announced in an advert at the time of its launch that sliced bread was the “greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped”.

While we can only wonder what other great things were invented since bread was wrapped, countless consumer goods been described as greater than the sliced stuff – the Segway, the fax machine, the iPod. Few, however, have managed to stay fresh for so long.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £32,000 Uncapped

    £22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £10,000 Uncapped - Part Time

    £7500 - £10000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness chai...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

    COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Marketing / Digital Marketing Executive (CRM, Eve...

    Recruitment Genius: Receptionist / Sales / Customer Service Assistant

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: The role is likely to be 4on 4 off, days and ...

    Day In a Page

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea