Home of Sliced Bread


Home of Sliced Bread
City of Chillicothe

Chillicothe Baking Company first introduced the world to sliced bread on July 6, 1928. In an advertisement from around that time, owner Frank Bench boasted about his Kleen Maid Sliced Bread. Saying, “Just think of it! Every slice perfect and CORRECT, far better than you could cut it yourself. There was a time when you ground coffee. Now you buy it ground. Well, this is the same sort of sensible, logical improvement.”
The sliced bread sold by Chillicothe Baking Company was also advertised as “the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped.” This led to the popular phrase, “greatest thing since sliced bread.”
We take it for granted today, but there was a time that “sliced bread”—a loaf of bread that has been sliced with a machine and packaged for convenience—was unheard of by busy moms of the day. Since the beginning of civilization, bread was made in loaves that had to be cut to size by hand. Previous efforts to mechanize the process resulted in squashed slices of bread.
Then along came Otto Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa. His did the job with multiple knives that sliced from the top and the bottom at the same time. Two metal pins inserted at each end held the loaf together while it was wrapped in paper. When the housewife was ready to use the bread, the wrapper was opened and one pin taken out. Enough slices for the meal were removed and the wrapper was folded closed.
However, it was almost NOT the greatest thing since sliced bread, because nobody wanted Rohwedder’s machine. He had worked on the device for more than a decade, but bakers were skeptical, fearing the bread would go stale. When Bench decided to give the machine a try, his Kleen Maid Bread quickly became very popular, increasing their sales by 2,000 percent in just a few weeks.
The city of Chillicothe decided to honor this monumental event and in 2007 made their official town slogan: “The
Home of Sliced Bread.”

 As featured in Missouri Back Road Restaurant Recipes