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Is Sliced Bread a Luxury?

In 1928, Otto Fredrick Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa, invented a machine that would change life in America forever. Rohwedder created a multi-knifed machine that sliced bread uniformly before it was packaged for sale. Soon, people began to eat more bread, more often, triggering an increase in the consumption of various spreads, such as peanut butter and jam -- except during a three-month period in 1943, when US officials decided to ban sliced bread as a World War II conservation measure. Claude R. Wickard, the Secretary of Agriculture and head of the War Foods Administration, made the sliced bread decision, but no one knew why. However, when it became clear that supplies of wax paper, steel and wheat were unaffected -- and after significant public outcry -- the ban was lifted.

An essential food item, no matter how you slice it:

  • Introduction of bread slicers in the bread manufacturing process was called “the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped.” That led to the idiom: “the greatest thing since sliced bread.”

  • The first commercial use of Rohwedder’s slicing machine was by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri, which sold its first slices on July 7, 1928.

  • In the 1930s, Wonder Bread became one of the first companies to sell pre-sliced bread nationwide, dramatically increasing its popularity.

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More Info: Vintage News

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