Chillicothe, Mo., was where sliced bread was invented

Chillicothe's new slogan officially is “The Home of Sliced Bread.”

City council members gave unanimous support to this proposal during their regular meeting Thursday night.

Ed Douglas, chairman of the Sliced Bread Committee, said that the city has used other slogans through the years, including “In the Middle of It All” and “The City in the Country,” but he asked city leaders on Thursday to make “The Home of Sliced Bread” the official city slogan.

“The other slogans could be said about any number of communities,” Douglas said. “The Home of Sliced Bread is unique to Chillicothe.”

Douglas went on to explain that it was in Chillicothe where baker Frank Bench of Chillicothe Baking Co. in 1928 introduced sliced bread to the buying public. Up until this time, nowhere else in the world had sliced bread been sold commercially. The bread-slicing machine was invented by Otto Rohwedder, a friend of Bench.

Practically all details of this little-known fact were buried on microfilm until 2001 when the Constitution-Tribune was researching old newspapers for a history book. Through extensive research, the newspaper learned more details about the 1928 event and even met with the inventor's son who had documents of the first bread slicing machines that were sold - Chillicothe being the first - as well as articles from other sources, including old trade journals.

Once these details were discovered, Douglas formed a Sliced Bread Committee to promote Chillicothe as the home of sliced bread. Douglas highlighted for council members a few of the projects which the committee has completed, including a mural dedicated to Chillicothe being the home of sliced bread, a marker at the original site of the bakery and the annual Home of Sliced Bread bread baking contests.

He also noted some goals of the committee, including an interactive museum and possibly a giant loaf of bread as a roadside attraction.

Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune