Smithsonian Grants 3-Year Extension for Bread Slicer Loan
October, 2016

A 1928 commercial bread slicing machine - the second one in the world that was ever put into production and which has been on loan from the Smithsonian Institution for the last three years - will remain in Chillicothe for the next three years. Pam Clingerman, curator of Grand River Historical Society Museum where the bread slicing machine has been on display since 2013, said that the museum received approval last week. The initial loan was for three years (set to expire June 18, 2016) but, after learning that the Smithsonian did not have immediate plans to put the machine on display, the museum asked for an extension. Clingerman said that the public has expressed great interest in the bread-slicing machine and that interest continues to grow each year. "As Chillicothe bills itself as the Home of Sliced Bread, people want to come to see what the original bread slicer looks like," Clingerman said.

In making the extension application, the museum completed a condition report, submitted photographs of the machine on exhibit, reported the light levels for the machine and the number of hours the machine was exposed to light per week, and provided data of one year of temperature range and relative humidity readings from the exhibit gallery.

The bread slicer on display is the second bread slicer ever put into use and it came from Korn's Bakery in Davenport, Iowa. It was donated to the Smithsonian by the children of Otto Rohwedder, the man who invented the bread slicing machine. The first bread-slicer was installed in Chillicothe and sliced bread was introduced to the world on July 7, 1928, at The Rohwedder bread-slicing machine is on loan from the Smithsonian Institution and has been displayed at Grand River Historical Society Museum in Chillicothe since 2013. The Smithsonian has granted a 3-year loan extension and the machine will be displayed locally through 2019.

The machine is on loan from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. The museum, located at 1401 Forest Drive, is open to the public between 1 and 4 p.m. on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. There is no admission charge; however, donations are accepted.

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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