JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A proposal declaring July 7th as Missouri Sliced Bread Day received overwhelming support by the Missouri House of Representatives Wednesday afternoon.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A proposal declaring July 7th as Missouri Sliced Bread Day received overwhelming support by the Missouri House of Representatives Wednesday afternoon. Upon its 128-16 vote approval, the bill was forwarded to the Missouri Senate and had its first reading. In his introductory remarks on the House floor, Rep. Rusty Black (R-Chillicothe), the bill’s sponsor, provided information about the earliest records of bread up through the introduction of the world’s first automatic bread slicing machine which was first used in Chillicothe, Mo., on July 7, 1928. “In 1911, Otto Rohwedder, the father of sliced bread, began working on a machine to mechanically slice bread,” Black said. At the time, Rohwedder was a jeweler in St. Joseph, Mo. “In 1928, the first automatic bread-slicing machine was first used in the great town of Chillicothe, in the greater state of Missouri,” Black said. “Missouri: The home of sliced bread.” Applause could be heard coming from the House floor. Black continued. “We’ve talked about value-added agriculture,” said Black, a retired ag education teacher. “Sliced bread, folks, is value added agriculture... as well as the peanut butter and jelly... that becomes very popular when we add sliced bread.” Rohwedder, Black said, talked with bakers throughout the country but none wanted to give his invention a try. None, except for Frank Bench, of Chillicothe Baking Company, in Chillicothe, Mo. “Within two weeks, the amount of bread that he sold went up 2,000 percent,” Black said. “The rest is history.” Black concluded his remarks on the House floor by stating that July 7, 2018, will be the 90th anniversary of commercially-sliced bread. He once again renewed his motion that his bill declaring July 7th as Missouri Sliced Bread Day be third read and passed. More applause came from the House Floor and Rep. Richard Brown (D-Kansas City) offered comments in support of the bill. Brown is the ranking minority member serving on the Special Committee on Tourism. “We heard this bill in the Tourism Committee and it is a very good bill for the city of Chillicothe as well as the state of Missouri,” Brown said. “This bill is the greatest thing since sliced bread and if we don’t pass this bill, we’ll all be toast! And with that, Mr. Speaker, I urge the body to pass this bill.” Hear Rep. Black present the bill on House floor Several individuals from Chillicothe were in Jefferson City in support of the bill, including Pam Clingerman, curator of the Grand River Historical Society Museum. Clingerman and Museum Board President Marvin Holcer approached Black with the idea establishing a state designation for sliced bread. “This is an amazing piece of history,” Clingerman said. “This is important to everybody in Missouri; not just Chillicothe. It revolutionized the baking industry.” Amy Supple, director of the Greater Chillicothe Tourism Region, also was at the state capitol Wednesday afternoon. “In Chillicothe, we are so fortunate to have an amazingly innovative story as part of our history,” Supple said. “July 7th is a day worth celebrating and that’s what we plan to do.” Rep. Nate Walker (R-Kirksville) is a co-sponsor of the Missouri Sliced Bread Day bill. Sen. Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg), who represents Chillicothe in the Senate, will handle the bill in the Senate. Wednesday’s House vote was 128 “yes” votes, 16 “no” votes and 1 “present” vote. There were 13 members absent. House Speaker Todd Richardson declared the bill passed.