The greatest thing since sliced bread might be a day to celebrate it.
A Missouri lawmaker has proposed a bill that will mark July 7 as the state’s Sliced Bread Day. The bill is awaiting final vote in the state House before it goes to the state Senate.
“I think it stands a pretty good chance,” the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rusty Black, said about whether the bill will become law.
The idea for Sliced Bread Day came from a museum in Chillicothe, Missouri. The city boasts of being the first to sell sliced bread on July 7, 1928.
The president and curator of the Grand River Historical Society Museum want to preserve the small snippet of the city’s history and requested Black help them push the bill forward.
From a front-page story …
It all started with a front-page story in the Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune.
On July 6, 1928, the paper published a piece saying a new form of bread would be available the next day. And that Chillicothe Baking Company would be the “first bakers in the world” to sell Otto Rohwedder’s sliced bread idea.
At the time, many bakers thought sliced bread would quickly become stale. Others worried it would fall apart.
Rohwedder suggested wrapping each slice of bread in thick wax paper so it maintained freshness. No one wanted to give his idea a chance, except for the Chillicothe Baking Company.
It put sliced bread on the shelves on July 7. It quickly became a big success.
… to a scrapbook entry
Catherine Ripley, who is now the editor of the paper, came across the article in 2001.
“I didn’t really give it a whole lot of thought other than thinking, ‘That’s pretty cool,'” she said.
In 2003, she met Rohwedder’s son, Richard, and he shared a scrapbook of his father’s experience.
Then, in 2013, the Grand River Historical Society welcomed the bread slicing machine — a loan from the Smithsonian Institution.
“It really hadn’t been that long ago and everybody in Chillicothe forgot about it,” Ripley said. “It’s kind of strange that it wasn’t ever preserved.”
A way to boost tourism
Black, the lawmaker, said Sliced Bread Day will boost tourism in the city of Chillicothe, which has a population of about 9,500.
There are also plans for a new visitors’ center touting sliced bread, in the same location where the Chillicothe Baking Company stood 90 years ago.
“It’s another reason for people to come into our community and spend their dollars there as well as maybe learn things about North Central Missouri,” Black said.