In the town of Chillicothe in Missouri, the eponymous Chillicothe Baking Company was the first company to use a slicing machine to produce the successful Kleen Maid Sliced Bread. After ignoring this achievement for decades, Chillicothe has now reinvented itself as the “Home of Sliced Bread ”, holding an annual Bread Fest.
However, the innovation did not catch on in Australia for some decades. The Sunshine Bread Co. of Newtown in Sydney may have been among the first to offer a sliced product to customers in the late 1930s. Then, during World War II, slicing of bread was prohibited in both America and Australia. In 1943 an edict was issued prohibiting Australian bakers from cutting, slicing, wrapping or branding bread in any manner whatsoever.
The prohibition seems difficult to explain. However, it may have been because of a paper shortage in wartime. Health regulations specified that bread should only be wrapped in clean brown or white paper and possibly slicing made it necessary for the bread to be wrapped.
The rise of self-service grocery stores and supermarkets in the 1950s led to a demand for pre-packaged bread that would keep fresh for longer. The Tip Top brand was launched nationally in 1958 with pre-sliced, wrapped bread. It was the first national bread brand in Australia.