Ever wondered what the phrase “the best thing since sliced bread” really means? You might think sliced bread has been around forever, but that isn’t the case. Until about 1890, folks were more accustomed to ripping a chunk of bread off a loaf than cutting it. Bread knives then were long and thin, great for hacking at a rustic loaf but a poor choice for slicing.
In 1880, Russ J. Christy founded the Christy Knife Company in Freemont, Ohio. In 1889, he got a patent for the first serrated bread knife and started production in 1892. It changed the world. You wouldn’t believe how much more productive a person can be when they can eat with ONE HAND. Not to mention the time savings it was for homemakers of the time.
The bread knife made it possible for people to eat with one hand. Sandwiches had been around for at least a century before, but they were food for the aristocracy and fancy chefs. The bread knife made it possible for ordinary folk like you and me to enjoy food served between two slices of bread.
But the story doesn’t end there. About 25 years after the invention of serrated bread slicing knives, Otto Rohwedder took bread slicing to the next level. He invented the automatic bread slicing machine, opening up an entirely new industry – store-bought sliced bread. The first loaves to hit the shelves were sold by Wonder and would soon sweep the nation. Life has never been the same since.
Today’s takeaway is that it takes innovation to change the world, and it can come from any source. If Mr. Christy had listened to the naysayers, he’d never have gotten his patent. Without that seemingly small breakthrough in the blade design, Mr. Rohwedder may not have invented the slicing machine. Without the bread slicing machine, we wouldn’t enjoy Reuben Sandwiches, Grilled Cheeses, or Avocado Toast. So keep working on your passion and innovation because you might create something that would change humanity forever.