Engineering - the best thing since sliced bread!

11/12/2013 12:44:07

Did you have toast for your breakfast this morning or a sandwich for your lunch?

If you did then you’ve enjoyed the result of one of the greatest mechanical engineering solutions used by the food manufacturers.

Believe it or not, though people have eaten and sliced their own bread for hundreds of years, pre-sliced, packaged bread is a relatively new invention. Designed by American inventor Otto Frederick Rohwedder, the mechanical bread slicer revolutionised the baking industry and completely transformed the way we eat.

This new machine was the result of several years of attempts by Rohwedder to find the perfect solution via trial and error. Apparently, one of his prototypes even involved the sliced bread being held together by metal pins! Needless to say, it was unsuccessful. However, his creativity and perseverance paid off and in 1928 he introduced the mechanical bread slicer – a variation of which is still being used to this day.

In fact, Yorkshire-based bread maker Jackson's Bakery introduced their first mechanical bread slicer and wrapper in the 1930s to help it meet demand. In the first week the company sold 3,000 sliced loaves!

Based in Hull, Jackson’s Bakery is part of the William Jackson Food Group – one of the many companies behind the MEng Food Engineering degree at Sheffield Hallam University. The degree has been designed by the food industry, for the food industry to create their future food engineers.

Engineering – now that is the best thing since sliced bread!

Find out more:

Food Engineering: Take a closer look at Food Engineering

About the course: MEng Food Engineering degree at Sheffield Hallam University

About the Inventor: Otto Frederick Rohwedder and the history of the mechanical bread slicer

food engineering, bread, MEng Food Engineering