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Rep. Black files bill relating to historic event that took place in Chillicothe in 1928

Sliced Bread Day Bill Clears House; Heads to Senate
By Catherine Stortz Ripley
02 23 18
Photo Courtesy / Tim Bommel / Missouri State Capitol

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - A proposal declaring July 7th as Missouri Sliced Bread Day received overwhelming support by the Missouri House of Representatives Wednesday afternoon. Upon its 128-16 vote approval, the bill was forwarded to the Missouri Senate and had its first reading. In his introductory remarks on the House floor, Rep. Rusty Black (R-Chillicothe), the bill's sponsor, provided information about the earliest records of bread up through the introduction of the world's first automatic bread slicing machine which was first used in Chillicothe, Mo., on July 7, 1928. "In 1911, Otto Rohwedder, the father of sliced bread, began working on a machine to mechanically slice bread," Black said. At the time, Rohwedder was a jeweler in St. Joseph, Mo. "In 1928, the first automatic bread-slicing machine was first used in the great town of Chillicothe, in the greater state of Missouri," Black said. "Missouri: The home of sliced bread." Applause could be heard coming from the House floor. Black continued. "We've talked about value added agriculture," said Black, a retired ag education teacher. "Sliced bread, folks, is value added agriculture... as well as the peanut butter and jelly... that becomes very popular when we add sliced bread." Rohwedder, Black said, talked with bakers throughout the country but none wanted to give his invention a try. None, except for Frank Bench, of Chillicothe Baking Company, in Chillicothe, Mo. "Within two weeks, the amount of bread that he sold went up 2,000 percent," Black said. "The rest is history." Black concluded his remarks on the House floor by stating that July 7, 2018, will be the 90th anniversary of commercially-sliced bread. He once again renewed his motion that his bill declaring July 7th as Missouri Sliced Bread Day be third read and passed.

More applause came from the House Floor and Rep. Richard Brown (D-Kansas City) offered comments in support of the bill. Brown is the ranking minority member serving on the Special Committee on Tourism. "We heard this bill in the Tourism Committee, and it is a very good bill for the city of Chillicothe as well as the state of Missouri," Brown said. "This bill is the greatest thing since sliced bread and if we don't pass this bill, we'll all be toast! And with that, Mr. Speaker, I urge the body to pass this bill."

Several individuals from Chillicothe were in Jefferson City in support of the bill, including Pam Clingerman, curator of the Grand River Historical Society Museum. Clingerman and Museum Board President Marvin Holcer approached Black with the idea of establishing a state designation for sliced bread. "This is an amazing piece of history," Clingerman said. "This is important to everybody in Missouri; not just Chillicothe. It revolutionized the baking industry." Amy Supple, director of the Greater Chillicothe Tourism Region, also was at the state capitol Wednesday afternoon. "In Chillicothe, we are so fortunate to have an amazingly innovative story as part of our history," Supple said. "July 7th is a day worth celebrating and that's what we plan to do."

Rep. NateWalker (R-Kirksville) is a co-sponsor of the Missouri Sliced Bread Day bill. Sen. Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg), who represents Chillicothe in the Senate, will handle the bill in the Senate. Wednesday's House vote was 128 "yes" votes, 16 "no" votes and 1 "present" vote. There were 13 members absent. House Speaker Todd Richardson declared the bill passed.

Sliced Bread Bill Advances

C-T 02 21 18 - JEFFERSON CITY, MO - Missouri Rep. Rusty Black's bill to have July 7th declared as Missouri Sliced Bread Day is scheduled to be introduced on the floor of the Missouri House of Representatives this afternoon. The proposal received unanimous support last month from the Special Committee on Tourism and then passed through Consent and House Procedure. Several individuals from Chillicothe were expected to be at the state capitol when the bill is presented today. If the bill passes out of the House, the measure will be up for Senate consideration. On the Senate side, Senator Denny Hoskins (R- Warrensburg), who represents Livingston County, will help move the proposal through the Senate. This bill has received widespread interest and media attention for Chillicothe since Black (R-Chillicothe) filed the bill late last year, bringing recognition to the fact that commercially-sliced bread was first introduced to the public in Missouri. That event took place July 7, 1928, in Frank Bench's Chillicothe Baking Company in Chillicothe, Missouri. The most recent media coverage came Tuesday in the form of a news article printed in the Washington Post online edition. The bill also received online exposure on CNN's website.

C-T 01/05/18 - By CATHERINE STORTZ RIPLEY - Seventh District Missouri Rep. Rusty Black (R-Chillicothe) has filed a bill to designate each July 7th as "Missouri Sliced Bread Day." The legislator pre-filed the state bill in December. The bill had its first reading on Wednesday, its second reading on Thursday, and now awaits committee assignment for a hearing. The bill language calls for the declaration of Missouri Sliced Bread Day and encourages Missourians to participate in appropriate activities and events to commemorate the first sale of sliced bread on July 7, 1928, in Chillicothe, Mo.

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

The building in which the first loaf of commercially- sliced bread was introduced to the world still stands at the corner of First and Elm streets in Chillicothe and is owned by the Sliced Bread Corporation. It was here where Chillicothe Baking Company owner, Frank Bench, put Otto Rohwedder's bread slicing machine into operation. Last summer, Black visited Grand River Historical Society Museum in Chillicothe where a Rohwedder bread-slicing machine is on loan from the Smithsonian Institution and is displayed. At the conclusion of his visit, Pam Clingerman, museum curator, and Marvin Holcer, of the Livingston County Historical Society, asked if Black would be willing to file a bill declaring July 7 as Missouri Sliced Bread Day. "I told them I would be happy to file the bill," Black said. "I have visited the museum a few times, but it has been a few years, and I found it very interesting to see the exhibits and changes to the museum." Although it is undocumented as to what happened to the original bread-slicing machine, it is believed to have been used until it fell apart. The machine on display at the Chillicothe museum was used at Korn's Bakery in Davenport, Iowa, and is the second one that was put into use. It was donated to the Smithsonian about 30 years ago by the family of Otto Rohwedder.

PHOTO CAPTION: On July 7, 1928, Chillicothe, Missouri, became the first place in the world to introduce commercially- sliced bread. Missouri Rep. Rusty Black has filed a state bill that would designate each July 7th as Missouri Sliced Bread Day.

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