Hundreds View Bread Slicer on Loan from Smithsonian
The Grand River Historical Society Museum hosted an open house on Sunday, July 7, from 1 to 6 p.m., to introduce the museum's new exhibit, A Slice of America.
July 8, 2013 / By CALLI PRICE / C-T

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CAPTION: Carmen Burgett (right), a great-niece of Chillicothe Baker Frank Bench, and Christine Bryers (center), granddaughter of bread slicer inventor Otto Rohwedder, cut a ribbon, signaling the opening of the 'A Slice of America' exhibit at the Grand River Historical Society Museum featuring a bread slicer on loan from the Smithsonian.


C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

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The Grand River Historical Society Museum hosted an open house on Sunday, July 7, from 1 to 6 p.m., to introduce the museum's new exhibit, A Slice of America. More than 200 people came to view the unveiling of the exhibit, featuring the world's second bread-slicing machine, which is on an extended loan from the Smithsonian Institution. Patrons included community members as well as family members of the two men - Otto Rohwedder and Frank Bench - who introduced commercially-sliced bread to the world on July 7, 1928, in Chillicothe.

The event began with words of welcome by Marvin Holcer, museum president, Chillicothe Mayor Chuck Haney and Pam Clingerman, museum curator. Clingerman expressed her feelings of joy for the new exhibit and what a big success bringing the machine to Chillicothe would be for the town. Clingerman then introduced Alumna of the Smithsonian National Board Claudia Ream Allen, with whom Clingerman worked to bring the bread-slicer to Chillicothe. Allen, a Chillicothe native, discussed her involvement with the Smithsonian and bringing the machine to Chillicothe, which she said was a two-year-long process. Tears of joy were shed as she discussed her pride in having the machine in the community that introduced sliced bread to the world. Allen read a letter addressed to Clingerman from Secretary of the Smithsonian Institute Wayne Clough. The letter congratulated Clingerman and the museum directors on the new exhibition, and thanked them for helping the Smithsonian to share the story of the bread slicer. "Reaching people everywhere is a cornerstone of the Smithsonian's mission, and I am pleased that the people of Chillicothe, Missouri, will have access to this uniquely American treasure during the 85th anniversary of commercially sliced bread," Clough wrote. "Smithsonian collections belong to us all, and I truly appreciate your efforts to help us share the story of American innovation and ingenuity."

In a later interview, Allen said she was pleased to come back to her hometown to see this event. "It's such a charming story," Allen said. "It's so American... everyone's fascinated by the whole idea of it being here." Allen also introduced Catherine Stortz Ripley, news editor of the Constitution-Tribune, and said that Ripley's dedication and efforts led to this exhibit. "From the beginning to end - your research and dedication has led to this discovery," Allen told Ripley. "Your shared knowledge has led to this exhibit - the culmination of your efforts as a star reporter."

Ripley presented a slide show with the story of her discovery that sliced bread was invented in Chillicothe. "Ten years ago, I never would have dreamed something like this would happen," she said. "That's because 10 years ago, we didn't even know the pieces to this puzzle existed."


C-T Photo / Calli Price

CAPTION: A man stands looking at the world's second bread-slicing machine, on loan from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, and now on display at Grand River Historical Society Museum in Chillicothe. This machine was used in Korn's Bakery in Davenport, Iowa, in 1928. Earlier that year, on July 7, 1928, Frank Bench's Chillicothe Baking Company became the first bakery in the world to sell commercially-sliced bread to the public. The museum is open from 1 until 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.

Happy 85th Birthday, Sliced Bread
The Grand River Historical Society Museum will have an open house this Sunday, July 7, from 1 until 6 p.m.
Updated Jul. 5, 2013

The Grand River Historical Society Museum will have an open house this Sunday, July 7, from 1 until 6 p.m. The day will include a program about the history of sliced bread at 1:15 p.m., followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil the museum's new exhibit, A Slice of America, featuring a bread-slicing machine on loan from the Smithsonian Institution. This Sunday, July 7, 2013, marks the 85th anniversary of sliced bread. Commercially-sliced bread was first introduced in Chillicothe, Mo., on July 7, 1928.

Visit The Home of Sliced Bread website for additional news...

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