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I should have known.
The world has an Iowegian to thank for that oh-so-nice perfect slice of white bread that makes a sandwich swagger. PB&J, tuna with mayo, bologna and cheese, egg-salad: you owe a special salute to Davenport’s Otto Frederick Rohwedder. And, my fellow Americans, we all oughta thank Otto for that “best thing since sliced…” line, because it was part of his Kleen Maid Bread ad campaign.
But it wasn’t all upper crust for Rohwedder (that pun’s for you, Helen 😉 ). Bakeries thought his bread slicer was worthless as sliced bread grew stale faster. So Otto searched for solutions…including securing the slices with hat pins. (I am not making this up.) It was after he began wrapping each loaf in waxed paper that he met a baker who could see the whole loaf. Enter Frank Bench of Chillicothe, MO. I say, let’s toast them both. (Last one, I promise.)
But reading about Otto made me wonder what other Iowegians the world should thank for great inventions. Turns out, the list is long. There’s Clifford Berry, co-inventor of the first electronic computer. Wallace Carothers, who invented Nylon and Neoprene. George Gallup, the poll meister. Nobel prize winner Norman Borlaug who improved grains to fight world hunger. Lee DeForest who envisioned space telegraphy. Jesse Hiatt, inventor of the Delicious apple. And Drs. Paul and Routh, who invented buffered aspirin.
But today, when the sun’s bright and the heat’s on, I think top honors should go to Iowa inventors Hannah Harger and Christopher Nelson. She gave us screen doors. He gave us Eskimo Pies.
Slam! Yummmm. Summer.