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Iowa History Daily: July 7 - Iowa Inventor of Sliced Bread

Iowa History Daily: On July 7, 1880, Otto Frederick Rohwedder, inventor of sliced bread, was born in Davenport, Iowa.

Born to a German immigrant family, Rohwedder grew up in eastern Iowa while attending Davenport’s public schools. Upon high school graduation, he started an apprenticeship as a jeweler. Success soon found him, and he opened three jewelry stores. However, tinkering with watches led Rohwedder to experiment with creating new inventions.

When the idea for an automatic bread slicing machine struck Rohwedder, he sold his jewelry stores to invest in developing his idea. Although a fire destroyed his early prototypes and blueprints, he pressed on to continue developing his automatic bread slicing machine.

In 1927, Rohwedder applied for patents for a machine that not only sliced bread, but also wrapped it. Going into business with his friend Frank Bench to install the machines at the Chillicothe Baking Company, the first loaf of sliced bread hit the market on Rohwedder’s 38th birthday, July 7, 1928.

Although Continental Baking Company introduced Wonder Bread in 1930, Rohwedder continued to improve on his invention. He eventually sold his patent rights to the Micro-Westco Company of Bettendorf, Iowa, where he spent the rest of his career as a vice president and sales manager. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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