Otto Rohwedder and the greatest thing since sliced bread

Otto Frederick Rohwedder photo courtesy
The greatest thing since sliced bread

I’m sure you will have heard this phrase before, used all to often to describe the latest gizmo or gadget. But have you come across the name Otto Rohwedder? I’m guessing you haven’t.

Otto, originally a jeweller, was the inventor of the world’s first mechanical sliced bread, which went on sale on July 7 1928,  in Chillicothe, Missouri.

After many setbacks, including a fire which destroyed his first factory as well as blueprints and prototype, he managed to develop a successful process for slicing and wrapping the bread. However sales were slow at first as suspicious consumers were slow to accept a pre-sliced bread, but soon everyone wanted sliced bread. By 1933, only five years after its introduction, American bakeries were turning out more sliced than unsliced bread.

Below are a few of his many patent application drawings.


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