Inventing Sliced Bread In Missouri

Humans have been baking bread for millennia, but pre-slicing is another matter. The first automatically sliced commercial loaves were produced in 1928 in Chillicothe, Missouri, using a machine invented by jeweler Otto Rohwedder. For over a decade, he tried to make a machine to slice bread, but in 1917 a fire destroyed his factory, along with the blueprints and prototype. Still, Otto persevered, and in 1928 his power-driven, multi-blade bread slicer was put into service at the Chillicothe Baking Company. Sliced bread didn’t take long to become a hit around the United States, even as some bakers contended it was just a fad, and by 1930 it could be found in most towns across the country. During World War II, factory-sliced bread was briefly banned by the U.S. government in an effort to conserve resources such as the paper used to wrap the loaves. The ban was rescinded on March 8, 1943. The most popular bread in the U.S. today is Butterbread Nature's Own, followed by White Whole Grain Sara Lee.