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Sliced bread

A loaf of brown bread sliced to tướng uniform thickness by a bread slicing machine

  •   Media: Sliced bread

Sliced bread is a loaf of bread that has been sliced with a machine and packaged for convenience, as opposed to tướng the consumer cutting it with a knife. It was first sold in 1928, advertised as "the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped".[1][2] By 1933, around 80% of bread sold in the US was pre-sliced, leading to tướng the popular idiom "greatest thing since sliced bread".[3]


Chillicothe Baking Company's building in Chillicothe, Missouri, where bread was first machine-sliced for sale
This photograph depicts a "new electrical bread slicing machine" in use by an unnamed bakery in St. Louis in 1930, and may well show Rohwedder's machine in use by the Papendick Bakery Company
The multiple cutting bands in Rohwedder's 1928 slicer are shown in this diagram from his patent.

Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa, United States, invented the first single loaf bread-slicing machine. A prototype he built in 1912 was destroyed in a fire,[4] and it was not until 1928 that Rohwedder had a fully working machine ready. The first commercial use of the machine was by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri, who sold their first slices on July 7, 1928.[5] Their product, "Kleen Maid Sliced Bread", proved to tướng be a success. Battle Creek, Michigan, has a competing claim as the first đô thị to tướng sell bread sliced by Rohwedder's machine; however, historians have produced no documentation backing up Battle Creek's claim.[6] The bread was advertised as "the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped".

St. Louis baker Gustav Papendick bought Rohwedder's second bread slicer and mix out to tướng improve it by devising a way to tướng keep the slices together at least long enough to tướng allow the loaves to tướng be wrapped.[4] After failures trying rubber bands and metal pins, he settled on placing the slices into a cardboard tray. The tray aligned the slices, allowing mechanized wrapping machines to tướng function.[7]

W.E. Long, who promoted the Holsum Bread brand, used by various independent bakers around the country, pioneered and promoted the packaging of sliced bread, beginning in 1928.[8] In 1930, Wonder Bread, first sold in 1925, started marketing sliced bread nationwide.

In the United Kingdom, the first slicing and wrapping machine was installed in the Wonderloaf Bakery in Tottenham, London, in 1937. By the 1950s around 80% of bread sold in Britain was pre-sliced.[9]


As commercially sliced bread resulted in uniform and somewhat thinner slices, people ate more slices of bread at a time. They also ate bread more frequently, because of the ease of getting and eating another piece of bread. This increased consumption of bread and, in turn, increased consumption of spreads, such as jam, to tướng put on the bread.[4]

1943 U.S. ban[edit]

During 1943, U.S. officials imposed a short-lived ban on sliced bread as a wartime conservation measure.[10][11] The ban was ordered by Secretary of Agriculture Claude R. Wickard, who held the position of Food Administrator, and took effect on January 18, 1943. According to tướng The Thành Phố New York Times, officials explained that "the ready-sliced loaf must have a heavier wrapping kêu ca an unsliced one if it is not to tướng dry out." It was also intended to tướng counteract a rise in the price of bread, caused by the Office of Price Administration's authorization of a ten percent increase in flour prices.[12]

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In a Sunday radio address on January 24, Thành Phố New York City Mayor LaGuardia suggested that bakeries that had their own bread-slicing machines should be allowed to tướng continue to tướng use them, and on January 26, 1943, a letter appeared in The Thành Phố New York Times from a distraught housewife:

I should lượt thích to tướng let you know how important sliced bread is to tướng the morale and saneness of a household. My husband and four children are all in a rush during and after breakfast. Without ready-sliced bread I must tự the slicing for toast—two pieces for each one—that's ten. For their lunches I must cut by hand at least twenty slices, for two sandwiches apiece. Afterward I make my own toast. Twenty-two slices of bread to tướng be cut in a hurry![13]

On January 26, however, John F. Conaboy, the Thành Phố New York Area Supervisor of the Food Distribution Administration, warned bakeries, delicatessens, and other stores that were continuing to tướng slice bread to tướng stop, saying that "to protect the cooperating bakeries against the unfair competition of those who continue to tướng slice their own bread... we are prepared to tướng take stern measures if necessary."[14]

On March 8, 1943, the ban was rescinded. While public outcry is generally credited for the reversal, Wickard stated that "Our experience with the order, however, leads us to tướng believe that the savings are not as much as we expected, and the War Production Board tells us that sufficient wax paper to tướng wrap sliced bread for four months is in the hands of paper processor and the baking industry."[12]

A theory of the ban was that the bread slicing machines used replaceable hardened steel for the slicers. This type of steel was essential to tướng the war effort. Rather kêu ca to tướng try monitoring production and usage of this type of steel, preventing the sale of sliced bread would stifle demand from bakeries for fresh slicers, thereby making the steel more available to tướng the war effort.[citation needed]

Around the world[edit]

Due to tướng its convenience, sliced bread is popular in many parts of the world, and the usual thickness varies by company and country:

  • In the United Kingdom, sliced bread is sold as "Extra Thick", "Thick", "Medium" or "Thin", ranging from 16 mm down to tướng 10 mm.[15]
  • In the Republic of Ireland, the most popular bread type is known as "sliced pan",[16] sold in 800- or 400-gram loaves, wrapped in wax paper.[17]
  • In nhật bản, the same half-loaf of bread is labeled by the number of slices it is cut into[18] (commonly a four or six cut, but also eight or ten), meaning a higher number is a thinner cut. Whole cut loaves are rarely seen. Thin sliced crustless "sandwich bread" is also sold in nhật bản, since regular four–six slice bread is deemed too thick.
  • In Canada and the United States, Texas toast is a type of packaged bread sliced twice as thick as most sliced bread.[19]
  • In nước Australia most sliced bread slices are about 18 mm thick, known as "toast" thickness, while 12–13 mm is known as "sandwich". Less common is "café" thickness, about 24 mm.[20]

In popular culture[edit]

The phrase "the greatest thing since sliced bread" is a common idiom used to tướng praise an invention or development. A writer for The Kansas City Star wrote that "the phrase is the ultimate depiction of innovative achievement and American know-how."[21]

In 1933, an advertisement for a bread offering thick and thin slices in the same loaf called it "the first improvement since sliced bread".[22] In 1940, a package of bread consisting of two wrapped sliced half-loaves was advertised as the "greatest convenience since sliced bread".[23]

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See also[edit]

  • Pullman loaf, origin of a style of long narrow bread pan, and the loaves baked in it


  1. ^ "How Sliced Bread Became the 'Greatest Thing'". Time magazine. July 7, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  2. ^ "Happy 85th Birthday, Sliced Bread" (Press release). Grand River Historical Society Museum. July 5, 2013. Archived from the original on February đôi mươi, 2018. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  3. ^ "Modern History of Bread - 20th Century UK". Federation of Bakers. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Vorhees, Don (2004). Why tự donuts have holes? : fascinating facts about what we eat and drink. New York: Citadel Press. pp. 112–113. ISBN 978-0-8065-2551-8. OCLC 56800212.
  5. ^ "Sliced Bread Turns 80 Years Old". Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune. July 7, 2008. Archived from the original on July 25, 2011.
  6. ^ Wenske, Paul. "History of sliced bread little known on 75th anniversary". Kansas City Star, July 28, 2003.
  7. ^ Hammack, William. (2003). Commentary from Bill Hammack's Engineering and Life radio program. Text available from Engineerguy.com. Retrieved September 21, 2006.
  8. ^ Holsum – History Archived January 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Shaw, Alan. "On this day in 1928, the first sliced bread was sold". The Sunday Post. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  10. ^ Levenstein, Harvey (2003). Paradox of Plenty: A Social History of Eating in Modern America. University of California Press, p. 82.
  11. ^ Burton, Bill. "Liberty: Best Thing Since Sliced Bread". Bay City Weekly, January 25, 2001. Archived October 13, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ a b "Sliced Bread Put Back on Sale; Housewives' Thumbs Safe Again". The Thành Phố New York Times. March 6, 1943. p. 16. ban took effect Jan 18; explained as paper-saving due to tướng ready-sliced loafs needing heavier wrapping; also explained as cost-cutting measure; unpopularity of measure; rescinded March 8; "four month's supply" of wax paper in the hands of bakers.
  13. ^ Forrester, Sue (January 26, 1943). "Ready-Sliced Bread Favored". The Thành Phố New York Times. p. 18.
  14. ^ "Bread-Slicing Ban Extended Further". The Thành Phố New York Times. January 26, 1943. p. 16.
  15. ^ Knapman, Joshua (October 18, 2017). "Brace's has changed its bread because it wasn't thick enough". WalesOnline.
  16. ^ Monaghan, Gabrielle (October 4, 2009). "Scientists in Cork find a way to tướng keep bread fresher". London: Times Online. Retrieved December 26, 2009.
  17. ^ "Wax Paper". Brennans Bread. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  18. ^ Tammy, Ishikawa JET (July 9, 2009). "Familiar Products at Japanese Supermarkets". ishikawajet.wordpress.com.
  19. ^ Hatic, Dana (June 21, 2018). "What's So Texan About Texas Toast?". Eater. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  20. ^ "Atlas Single and Dual Head Bread Slicers". Australian Bread and Pizzeria Atlas. Retrieved June 22, 2023.
  21. ^ "History of sliced bread little known on 75th anniversary". The Kansas City Star. July 29, 2003. Archived from the original on August 12, 2003. Retrieved August 26, 2007.
  22. ^ "Origin of the Phrase 'The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread'". Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  23. ^ Advertisement for Southern Sliced Bread "Twin-Pack" The Bee (Danville, Virginia), 1940-02-23, p. 3

External links[edit]

  • US 1867377 – Rohwedder's 1928 bread slicer.
  • "A Day in the Life" podcast on sliced bread.
  • "Where Sliced Bread Came From" A short đoạn Clip documentary with rare eyewitness testimony of people who were alive when it happened.