By Mary Bellis
Toasting bread began as a method of prolonging the life of bread. It was very common activity in Roman times, 'tostum' is the latin word for scorching or burning. The first electric toaster was invented in 1893 in Great Britain by Crompton and Co (UK) and re-invented in 1909 in the United States. It only toasted one side of the bread at a time and it required a person to stand by and turn it off manually when the toast looked done. Charles Strite invented the modern timer, pop-up toaster in 1919.
Sliced Bread - Otto Frederick Rohwedder
Otto Frederick Rohwedder invented the bread slicer, which he started working on in 1912. At first, Rohwedder came up with the idea of a device that held the slices together with hat pins (not a success). In 1928, he designed a machine that sliced and wrapped the bread to prevent the sliced bread from going stale. The Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri, started selling "Kleen Maid Sliced Bread" on July 7, 1928, possibly the first sliced bread sold commercially. Pre-sliced bread was further popularized by Wonder Bread in 1930, helping to spread the toaster's popularity even further as well.
The Toaster Museum
An unusual online museum dedicated to the toaster, lots of photos and historical information, read the 1900 to 1920 sections for the original inventors that are discussed. Main page.
Sandwich - John Montagu
John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich (1718 -1792) was the originator of the name sandwich. John Montagu loved to eat beef between slices of toast. Eating his "sandwich" allowed the Earl to have one hand free for card playing.
According to Infoplease Encyclopedia, John Montagu was a British politician who served as secretary of state and first lord of the admiralty, and earned great unpopularity for his charges of obscenity against John Wilkes. He presided at the admiralty during the British defeats of the American Revolution. The Sandwich (Hawaiian) Islands were named after him by Capt. James Cook.