February Poem #12

..to sliced bread

it’s the greatest thing
since, well, ever since before
we wrapped it up for selling
stale-cold at the store
as if slicing it warm is a chore


Did you know? Here’s a bit of history from Wikipedia.

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[1] 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, which sold their first slices on July 7, 1928. Their product, “Kleen Maid Sliced Bread”, proved to be a success. Battle Creek, Michigan, has a competing claim as the first city to sell bread sliced by Rohwedder’s machine; however, historians have produced no documentation backing up Battle Creek’s claim. The bread was advertised as “the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped.”

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

During 1943, U.S. officials imposed a short-lived ban on sliced bread as a wartime conservation measure. After only two months amidst public outcry, notably from housewives, on March 8, 1943, the ban was rescinded. Officials claimed they did not reap the benefits they had hoped to by banning it.

The phrase “the greatest thing since sliced bread” is a common hyperbole used to 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.”

There’s more about sliced bread HERE.

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