Sliced bread

Today’s Zippy is an exercise in food history:

(#1) A hymn to sliced bread — from Chilicothe

Here, Bill Griffth makes an uncharacteristic mistake. If you say “Chillicothe” to most Americans, they will probably think of Chillicothe OH, as Griffith did (or they’ll just be baffled). But in fact the famed home of sliced bread is Chillicothe MO. The Ohio town is fairly small, but it was the first capital of Ohio, and it’s twice the size of the Missouri town.

About the Missouri town, from Wikipedia:

(#2) Livingston County Courthouse with mural depicting the community [as] the home of sliced bread.

Chillicothe is a city in the state of Missouri and the county seat of Livingston County, Missouri, United States. The population was 9,515 at the 2010 census. The name “Chillicothe” is Shawnee for “big town”, and was named after their Chillicothe, located since 1774 about a mile from the present-day city.

And the sliced bread story. From the Home of Sliced Bread site:

(#3) The sliced bread poster

You’ve heard of the “greatest thing since sliced bread,” of course. Well, we have the real thing – sliced bread! It was discovered that sliced bread was first offered for sale – ever – in Chillicothe, Missouri. A product of the Chillicothe Baking Company, it was sliced on a machine called the Rohwedder Bread Slicer. Invented by Iowa inventor, Otto Rohwedder, the bread slicer was put into practice in 1928 in beautiful downtown Chillicothe.

The Wikipedia story, with more detail:

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 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”.

About Chilicothe OH, a pretty town in southern Ohio. From Wikipedia, again with the name from Shawnee:

Chillicothe is a city in and the county seat of Ross County, Ohio, United States [population 21,901 at the 2010 census]. Located along the Scioto River 45 miles south of Columbus, Chillicothe was the first [1803-1810] and third [1812-1816] capital of Ohio.

… Later Native Americans who inhabited the area through the time of European contact included Shawnees. Present-day Chillicothe is the most recent of seven locations in Ohio that bore the name, because it was applied to the main town wherever the Chalakatha settled.





One Response to “Sliced bread”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    As someone who prefers to purchase my bread unsliced so it can be sliced fresh as needed, I’ve long been slightly puzzled by “the greatest thing since sliced bread”, since my reaction is “What’s so great about sliced bread?” (Of course, I do recognize that for many people having the bread pre-sliced is a great convenience. When my mother bought freshly-baked bread from our favored local bakery – appropriately named “Mother’s Jewish Bakery” – she always asked them to slice it. I remember one occasion when I was delegated to buy bread, and the rye, which was really excellent, was still warm; and the clerk tried to convince me that still-warm bread might cause indigestion, and rather grudgingly agreed to slice it; our theory was that the slicing machine got temperamental with very fresh bread.)

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