The Best Thing Since …What?

By The Editors / March / April 2004
June 15th, 2007
Richards J. (Dick) Conly ’25 is not only one of brown’s most versatile impromptu musicians, but he is also the man who brought sliced bread to Philadelphia. Ben Franklin may have arrived in Philly carrying a loaf of bread under his arm, but Conly carried the town with his slicer.

W. Penn, Jr., who writes human interest stories for the Philadelphia Record, says that Conly, secretary of the Parkway Baking Company, “was the first to entice the Philadelphia housewife with sliced bread—that was July, 1929, when Conly bought one of Papendick’s rudimentary machines. Sales soared at once, although an extra cent was tagged on the price of each loaf.

“The early machines (Papendick is a Detroit baker turned inventor) broke down as often as they were started, and once the Parkway loaves appeared with an apologetic label informing housewives that owing to unforeseen circumstances the bread was not sliced that day. The housewives were indignant. Conly wired Papendick for a new crankshaft, and it arrived the next day with $26 in stamps pasted on it.”

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March / April 2004