Bread-slicing Machine

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This commercial bread-slicing machine was designed and manufactured in 1928 by Otto Frederick Rohwedder (1880-1960). It was used to slice loaves of fresh bakery bread at Korn's Bakery, in Rohwedder's home town of Davenport, Iowa, beginning in late 1928. This is Rohwedder's second automatic bread-slicer, the first having fallen apart after about six months of heavy use at Bench's Bakery, in Chillicothe, Missouri.
The public loved the convenience of sliced bread and, by 1929, Rohwedder's Mac-Roh Company was feverishly meeting the demand for bread-slicing machines. By the following year, the Continental Baking Company was selling sliced bread under the Wonder Bread label. Having achieved success, Mr. Rohwedder reflected on his invention in the June 1930 issue of the Atlanta-based bakery trade journal, New South Baker: "I have seen enough bakers benefit in a big way from Sliced Bread to know that the same results can be obtained by any baker anywhere if he goes about the matter correctly. A good loaf, a proper presentation of Sliced Bread to the grocers and a truthful, clean advertising program based upon successful experiences and the baker can build his business far beyond what he could do without Sliced Bread. . . We are continuing our experimental and developmental work confident in the belief that the real possibilities of Sliced Bread have scarcely been scratched."
This 1928 bread-slicing machine was manufactured by the Micro Machine Company, of Bettendorf, Iowa, for the Davenport-based Mac-Roh Sales and Manufacturing Company. It was donated to the Museum by Mr. Rohwedder's daughter, Mrs. Margaret R. Steinhauer, of Albion, Michigan, in 1974.
Currently not on view
date made
Micro Machine Company
Physical Description
steel (overall material)
overall: 57 in x 38 in x 72 in; 144.78 cm x 96.52 cm x 182.88 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
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Work and Industry: Food Technology
Industry & Manufacturing
Data Source
National Museum of American History


This is the best thing since sliced bread... oh wait
"We live just north of Chillicothe, Missouri, the Home of Sliced Bread. I was interested that we are included in the article. I work in a HyVee store in Trenton, MO, and they still slice their own bread on a machine. It looks very old but still works for bread baked in the store. I can imagine how much time it saved housewives when they had to prepare lunches for their husbands and children. Most of them had plenty of other work to do during the time this was invented."

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