TUESDAY TRIVIA: Origin of the Phrase ‘The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread’

The phrase ‘best/greatest thing since sliced bread’ is sometimes used to describe something or someone that one thinks is very good, useful, etc.

Someone who is enthusiastic about how great something or someone is might describe it/them as “the best/greatest thing since sliced bread.”

What is the origin of this phrase?

In 1928, the Chillicothe Baking Company became the first company to sell sliced bread. It’s advertising for sliced bread included the sentence: “The greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped.”

Some subsequent advertising in the baking industry compared developments to the advancement of sliced bread.

Many sources say the first record of the idiom is thought to be in 1952, when the famous comedian Red Skelton said in an interview with the Salisbury Times: “Don’t worry about television. It’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.”

However, one source found it used in The Northern Whig (Belfast, Ireland) of Thursday 8th March 1951, which quoted the American journalist Dorothy Kilgallen (1913-65) writing in the New York Journal-American about British film actor Stewart Granger. In the article, Kilgallen’s sister is quoted as saying: “He is the greatest thing since sliced bread!”