[Ads-l] greatest thing since sliced bread (1951)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 3 17:47:59 EDT 2017


The phrase "greatest innovation since sliced bread" appeared January 31, 1940:

Date: January 31, 1940
Newspaper: Call-Chronicle (The Morning Call)
Newspaper Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania
Article: Seventy Years Provide Sharp Contrast in Hamilton St. Scene
Quote Page 36

https://www.newspapers.com/image/279843749/?terms=%22innovation%22

[Begin excerpt]
Just a few months ago, Schaible's Bakery, in its 56th year of
progressive business, startled the Lehigh Valley with the greatest
innovation since sliced bread. It was the "Thrift-Pak"—a unique loaf
consisting of two separately wrapped half loaves of bread double
wrapped into one.
[End excerpt]

Other variants:
Nov 15, 1935: "Here is the biggest news in BREAD BAKING since sliced
Bread was introduced!"
Jul 29, 1939: "IT IS THE NEWEST THING Since SLICED BREAD"
Oct 12, 1939: "The biggest news since sliced bread"
Feb 16, 1940: "Greatest convenience since sliced bread" (mentioned on
stackexchange)

Garson

On Wed, May 3, 2017 at 4:03 PM, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:
> The word string, "thing since sliced bread", shows up in a text search of Nathaniel Benchley's book, Side Street, Harcourt Brace, 1950.  But I could not see the page or a snippet on HathiTrust.
>
>
> While looking for the book online, I ran across someone who claims to have found the snippet on google books, and the line apparently says, "greatest god-damned thing since sliced bread."
>
>
> https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/209826/is-the-best-thing-since-sliced-bread-supposed-to-be-taken-sarcastically
>
> ________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
> Sent: Wednesday, May 3, 2017 12:33:04 PM
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Subject: Re: greatest thing since sliced bread (1951)
>
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: greatest thing since sliced bread (1951)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> D'oh. Should've checked.
>
> On Wed, May 3, 2017 at 3:30 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.co=
> m
>> wrote:
>
>> Barry Popik located the valuable 1951 citation and shared it here:
>>
>> Entry from September 12, 2016
>> =E2=80=9CThe greatest thing since sliced bread=E2=80=9D
>> http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/
>> the_greatest_thing_since_sliced_bread
>>
>>
>> On Wed, May 3, 2017 at 3:25 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
>> > OED's entry for "bread" hasn't been updated for a while. The earliest
>> > example given for "the best (or greatest, etc.) thing since sliced
>> > bread" is from 1969. Here it is from 1951:
>> >
>> > News-Journal (Mansfield, Ohio), Mar. 10, 1951, p. 3, col. 7
>> > Dorothy Kilgallen, "The Voice of Broadway" (syndicated column)
>> > "He is the greatest thing since sliced bread," she says of Mr. Granger.
>> > [Kilgallen quoting her sister about Farley Granger in "King Solomon's
>> Mines"]
>> >
>> > (There are more literal examples from the '30s and '40s for phrases
>> > like "the newest thing since sliced bread" appearing in advertisements
>> > for baked goods.)
>> >
>> >
>>
>
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>
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