Sunday, July 7, 2013

Happy Birthday Sliced Bread; Still Fresh at 85

Hi all! Grab a sandwich and a drink...

All Sorts of Sandwiches; Handi-Wrap 1965

We're off to Chillicothe, Missouri for the unveiling of thee sliced bread machine.

(Bread-slicing Machine Popular Science, 1930 (Wikipedia)

That's right everyone, The Grand River Historical Society, is hosting a ribbon cutting celebrating the arrival of a sliced bread machine by special delivery from the Smithsonian Museum today and we don't want to miss it!

"...The museum will open its new display "A Slice of America" featuring the second bread slicer invented and manufactured by Otto Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa. Eighty-five years ago, on July 7, 1928, a Chillicothe bakery became the first place in the world to sell commercially-sliced bread. The bakery was owned and operated by Frank Bench and the machine was the invention of Otto F. Rohwedder, of Davenport, Iowa. The machine is believed to have been used for six months before wearing out due to heavy use."

Can you think of any better way to celebrate Sliced Bread's 85th Birthday? I surely can't.(I just realized, Marion has been around longer than sliced bread:)

Albeit a virtual trip but hey, we had a virtual picnic and that worked out just dandy! After all, sandwiches are like picnics, they come in all sorts of sizes and shapes. From the very long hero to the tiny bite size tea sandwich, anything that fits between two slices of bread, or sometimes three or more, is a sandwich in my book!

Imagine what it must have been like in the "olden" days when first you had to procure the ingredients then bake the bread. And then you had to slice it to boot! I don't know about you but I'm pretty crusty when it comes to slicing bread in a uniform manner. The invention of a machine that could slice bread in a uniform manner however, was all the news in the Chillicothe Constitution Tribune on Friday, July 6th in 1928. Here's an excerpt from the article.

Here's a video from The Baking Industry which shows the process of commercial bread baking in 1946.

But sliced bread is NOT only for sandwiches. Nope, just feast your eyes on this Deluxe Bridge Loaf from 1934!

That Deluxe Bridge Loaf, my friends, was "procured" from "The Only Bread Baked At The Chicago's World's Fair."

Wonder Bread!

While many of us are eating all kinds of bread stuffs these days with ease and accessibility, the arrival of sliced bread was welcomed with much enthusiasm. It is said the Continental Baking Company, the bakers of Wonder Bread, were the first to embrace the new "technology", so they also had the distinction of coining the phrase The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread.

"...By the 1930s, pre-sliced bread was fully commercialized, and standardization was reinforced by other inventions that required uniform slices, such as toasters. The common phrase, "the best thing since sliced bread," as a way of hyping a new product or invention may have come into use based on an advertising slogan for Wonder Bread, the first commercial manufacturer of pre-wrapped, pre-sliced bread. With such products rapidly penetrating the American home, automated bread-making was not only an invention benchmark, but also a key indicator of the mechanization of daily life from the 1930s onward." The Atlantic; February 8, 2012.

As we all know, July is National Picnic Month. (I really think today should be declared National Sliced Bread Day, but, who am I to say:) Well, it just wouldn't be right to leave you high and dry with out some sort of picnic lunch, now would it?

Okay, so it doesn't involve the slicing of bread but hey, it sure looks good doesn't it? From Step-by-Step Hot and Cold Sandwiches by Carol Bowen I offer you...

FYI: On January 18, 1943, commercial bakers stopped selling sliced bread after Claude R. Wickard, Secretary of Agriculture, banned the sale of sliced bread in the United States until the end of WWII.

1. Sliced Bread News (a list of resources for further research)
2. Slice Bread Banned (previous post)