SLICED BREAD PATENT Close This Window (717 bytes)
Historical information online indicates that the inventor sold his patents to Micro-Westco Co. of Bettendorf.

Rohwedder first had a chief career as a jeweler and became the owner of three jewelry stores in St. Joseph. He used his work with watches and jewelry to create inventions of new machines. Convinced he could develop a bread slicing machine, he sold his jewelry stores to fund the development effort and manufacture the machines. In 1917 a fire broke out at the factory where Rohwedder was manufacturing his machine. It destroyed his prototype and blueprints. With the need to get funding again, Rohwedder was delayed for several years in bringing the bread slicer to market. In 1927 Rohwedder successfully designed a machine that not only sliced the bread but wrapped it. He applied for patents to protect his invention and sold the first machine to a friend and baker Frank Bench, who installed it at the Chillicothe Baking Company, in Chillicothe, Missouri in 1928. The first loaf of sliced bread was sold commercially on July 7, 1928. Sales of the machine to other bakeries increased and sliced bread became available across the country. Gustav Papendick, a baker in St. Louis, Missouri, bought Rohwedder's second machine and found he could improve on it. He developed a better way to have the machine wrap and keep bread fresh. He also applied for patents for his concepts. In 1930 Continental Baking Company introduced Wonder Bread as a sliced bread. It was followed by other major companies when they saw how the bread was received. By 1932 the availability of standardized slices had boosted sales of automatic, pop-up toasters, an invention of 1926 by Charles Strite. In 1933 American bakeries for the first time produced more sliced than unsliced bread loaves. That same year Rohwedder sold his patent rights to the Micro-Westco Co. of Bettendorf, Iowa and joined the company. He became vice-president and sales manager of the Rohwedder Bakery Machine Division. In 1951 Rohwedder at age 71 retired from Micro-Westco Co. and moved with his wife Carrie to Albion, Michigan, where their daughter Margaret (Rohwedder) Steinhauer and his sister Elizabeth Pickerill lived. Rohwedder died in Concord, Michigan on November 8, 1960. He was buried at Riverside Cemetery in Albion.

Patent info:
U.S. Patent No. 1,867,377
(Diagram from US Patent 1,867,377. Scan from []. This is Otto Rohwedder's 1928 patent for the bread-slicing machine.)

A complete PDF of the patent is found here:,867,377

Rohwedder Bread Slicer Patents (1927-1936):

U.S. Patent 1867377 -- Bread slicer
U.S. Patent 1867378 -- Bread feeding appliance
U.S. Patent 1740038 -- Bread slicer wire
U.S. Patent 1591357 -- Bread rack
U.S. Patent 1724368 -- Bread staples
U.S. Patent 1759592 -- Bread staples
U.S. Patent 1935996 -- Bread handler
U.S. Patent 2034250 -- Bread handler
U.S. Patent 2061315 -- Bread handler

Additional Info...

This one confirms the PATENT info (number and date): - "He filed for a patent on his new slicing-and-wrapping device (U.S. Patent No. 1,867,377 was issued to him on July 12, 1932) and sold his first machine to the Chillicothe Baking Company, in Chillicothe, Mo., in 1928. On July 7 of that year, the company sold its first loaf of sliced bread. Customers loved the product, which Chillicothe Baking Co. dubbed Kleen Maid Sliced Bread."

This shows a photo of one of the original machines used at a St. Louis bakery: - It is stated as being the "second" bread slicer.

"The first commercial use of the machine was by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri, which produced their first slices on July 6, 1928. Their product, "Kleen Maid Sliced Bread", proved a success. Battle Creek, Michigan has a competing claim as the first city to sell bread presliced by Rohwedder's machine; however, historians have produced no documentation backing up Battle Creek's claim. The bread was advertised as "the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped." St. Louis baker Gustav Papendick bought Rohwedder's second bread slicer and set out to improve it by devising a way to keep the slices together at least long enough to allow the loaves to be wrapped. After failures trying rubber bands and metal pins, he settled on placing the slices into a cardboard tray. The tray aligned the slices, allowing mechanized wrapping machines to function. W.E. Long, who promoted the Holsum Bread brand, used by various independent bakers around the country, pioneered and promoted the packaging of sliced bread beginning in 1928. In 1930 Wonder Bread, first sold in 1925, started marketing sliced bread nationwide." Also, it mentions that sliced bread was banned during WWII.

Another Resource...

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