Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Otto Frederick Rohwedder

Otto Frederick Rohwedder (1880-1960) owned three jewelry stores and was working as a jeweler when he first came up with the idea of a machine a that would preslice bread for customers.

Rohewedder sold his business and in 1916 became to work full time on his idea. Bakers were worried that the bread would become stale too fast if it was presliced so Rohwedder began to look for a way to keep the bread together after it was sliced. One mechanism he tried was to put metal pins in the bread to try it keep it from going stale. However, in 1917 the factory that was to build the first bread slicing machine burned down and all the blueprints were lost.

He continued to improve his design and in 1927 the first bread slicing machine was created. His new invention not only sliced the bread but also wrapped it to keep it from going stale.

In 1926 Charles Strite invented the pop-up toaster. The new toaster greatly increased sales of presliced bread and helped Rohwedder sell his new invention.

During the Great Depression, Rohwedder was forced to sell his new invention to Micro-Westco Co. Rohwedder was made vice president of the company and sales for his bread slicing machine continued to soar.

His bread slicing machine also became the invention that all future inventions have been compared to; "that's the best thing since sliced bread!"

Sources
Otto Rohwedder
MIT Inventor of the week: Otto Rohwedder
Wikipedia: Sliced Bread

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