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Bread-slicing Machine

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
Object Name
bread slicer
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
See more items in
Work and Industry: Food Technology
Industry & Manufacturing
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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I remember my mother (born 1928) telling me that her father worked very hard so that they could have sliced bread for Christmas!! How selfish we are today!!
It has been 141 years since my great granduncle invented this machine. I came upon this knowledge by happenstance. I believe that the second iteration of his machine is in the Smithsonian institute. From some accounts of family members (My grandmother and grandfather, Richard Rohwedder Holm I and Adris Darland Holm ) I have ascertained that Otto Frederick Rohwedder was also in optics and optometry. This is very strange to me because I was an ophthalmic engineer for a company called Nidek Inc before I had knowledge of his endeavors. And later I became involved in aerospace as an engineer. One of the spacecraft that I worked on for my company (then called Space Systems Loral, formerly Ford Aerospace) Is in the Smithsonian museum as well (Sirius FM4). -One of our hangar queens. I hope that someday someone related to us will come across this message in the future and it will help them. This message is for you: Follow your dreams. No matter what path you decide to do toward, you will carry the football forward as far as it will go. Don't worry so much about other people's jobs on the way-- tend to your own garden. . History has a strange way of repeating itself. And although I probably will not have met you, take comfort in the fact that our family has had a huge impact on the world, and I know that you will too. Strive as hard as you can. "Ad Aspera per Astra". But keep your wits about you and remember "Fide Sed Cui Vide."
Super story. I was born only a few years (1931) after Mr. Rohwedder invented his wonderful bread slicing machine and I grew up during the great depression. I remember how I used to love Wonder Bread's sliced white bread. I call it bailed fog now. This is great time to be alive and "Thank you Mr. Rohwedder".
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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