Greatest thing since sliced bread.

This phrase has become “industry standard” for a good thing.

What was the industry standard comparison before we had sliced bread?

The greatest thing since…

The wheel.

Dirt. You gotta admit, that stuff is pretty damn useful. It pales in comparison to sliced bread, but still.

When the wheel came out they all said “Unga-Bunga! This is the greatest thing since clubs!”

Regarding sliced bread, you might be interested to know that in American Heritage Magazine’s first Overrated/Underrated issue (May-June 1998), SB was considered “The Most Overrated Invention” by technology expert Edward Tenner. Two negatives he noted: “… in the long run it helped put family bakeries out of business and promoted balloon bread.”

Far, far more interesting was the choice for “Underrated”: the Brunswick Mineralite bowling ball! Quoting Tenner:

“… introduced in 1914 and made until around 1980. One of the most durable consumer goods ever manufactured, it sold in the millions with a lifetime warranty, yet only a handful were ever returned as defective. By replacing the easily deformed lignum vitae ball, it helped make bowling America’s most popular participant sport.”

Couldn’t tell ya’ about sliced bread, I bake my own (the old fashoned way, no machine…ummm, heaven)

Only thing I can think of that would come close is “little speckled puppy dogs.”

How about “Greatest thing since smilies?” :smiley:

Oh shit, run! Gotta get to the bomb shelter…

Digging through my largely nonexistent and imaginary reference library, I have come across The Big Little Book of Standards. It contains a near-complete listing of standards used throughout recorded history, and scholarly guesses at what might have served as a standard before the invention of the written word.

Examples:[ul]~1900: “The greatest thing since button shoes.”

Prior to the invention of button shoes, people had to sew their shoes to their feet. Understandably, this procedure could be dangerous and painful, especially if one was in a hurry or had poor depth perception.

~1800: “The greatest thing since powdered wigs.”

At a time when the average life expectancy was something like 35 years, many people were troubled by premature hair loss (caused, ironically, by worrying that you’d never live to qualify for a senior citizen discount). Fortunately, the advent of the powdered wig allowed any slob to appear in public with a full head of gray (actually white) hair, giving them that air of overripe elegance they might otherwise miss out on by dying before they were middle-aged.

Rennaissance: “The greatest thing since beans.”

Prior to the Rennaissance, even the rich were unable to provide adequate entertainment for themselves. Beans not only provided needed protein to a diet otherwise lacking in nutrition, but also provided musical accompaniment to any after-dinner activities.

Dark Ages: “The greatest thing since… well, since something else really good.”

The Dark Ages were uniformly difficult times throughout Europe. They didn’t have much basis of comparison, so just about anything out of the ordinary was a good thing, unless it frightened you (in which case you would attack it with pitchforks and torches).

Roman Era: “The greatest thing since rancid fish guts.”

The Romans, while great architects, engineers, and generals, hadn’t developed the sophisticated palate of their Italian descendants. Rancid fish guts was the ketchup of the Roman’s world, and he poured the stuff liberally on everything he ate. It is a telling indictment of Roman cooking that this was perceived as an improvement.

Ancient Greece: “The greatest thing since the Trojan Horse.”

The Trojan Horse was the first example of a gag gift in recorded history. True, its use resulted in the death of thousands and the sacking and pillage of a great city, but one has to remember that in ancient times, humor was often cruel and overdone. The Greeks were just a bit more successful in this respect than their contemporaries.[/ul]

I hope you live on the West coast Monster, I’d hate to be an accidental victom of a missfired cruse missle.

Sadly, smilies are a 1980s era invention, Monster.

Dr. Rob Weiserman typed the first “colon-close parenthasis” to end a sentence at MIT back in 1982. Not only was his doctorate subsequently voided, he was recently hunted down by a pack of rabid wolves and devoured in the back bayous of Louisiana.

Monster, ill-informed as you are, I shall withhold the missile launch in deference to the higher life forms in your area – namely deaf sewer rats and crippled cockroaches.

Hey Chief – I think what Monster104 meant to end his post with was not :D, but rather:


::ducking and running like absolute hell::

** OH MY GOD!** That is spectacular. ::Swiddles runs for her bomb shelter::

re the op: Fire.

denbo - that is classic! ROFLAO!!

On the OP it would seem that the answer would logically be, “The greatest thing since the bread knife.”

We must be tuned to the same frequency as I just posted the same question before seeing this thread… (*&^%$#^

denbo, a work of art is a beautiful thing.

Y’all will excuse me if I spend the rest of the day in our old basement fallout shelter…

My other post…

                     Humans have been making bread for ten to twelve thousand years, the Egyptians were the first to
                     produce leavened or raised breads and the workers who built the pyramids were paid with it.
                     Maybe the line "give us our daily bread" in the Lord's prayer is like saying I hope I don't get laid

                     The first bakers guilds were formed in Rome in 150 B.C.

                     After the bread trials of 1266 bakers in England were required to mark their bread so that
                     non-conforming loaves could be traced back to their maker. These were some of the earliest
                     known trademarks. From 1202 on a baker could be prosecuted for producing non-standard or
                     underweight bread.

                     Yeast was identified as a leavening agent in the 1800's although the Greeks and Romans had
                     been producing raised breads for a few millenia.

                     The commercial bread slicer was invented in 1928 and was followed quickly by the invention of
                     the automatic toaster. Toast consumption hit new heights.

                     In 1943 the department of Agriculture banned the sale of sliced bread in an effort to reduce prices
                     during wartime rationing.

                     In 1997, Americans ate an average of 150 pounds of wheat flour although this number was as
                     high as 210 pounds a year in 1910.

                     Since bread is pretty useless unless you slice it we could assume that bread has always been
                     sliced. Perhaps there was nothing before bread be it sliced or not...

                     Some other questions running through my mind right now are:

                     Why would you flog a dead horse?

                     What appeared above people's heads before light bulbs were invented?

I’d just like to point out that the greatest invention ever is nacho cheese. It’s got that industrial, toxic yellow color, that revolting consistency, and let’s not forget the ensuing gut rot. Yummy.

Oh god…denbo, PLEASE tell me you don’t live on the East Coast. Or else that missile Chiefy’s shooting is gonna KILL me.

shudders and dives into the bomb shelter


I was in the Public Garden about a year ago, watching the ducks diving for food in the pond. When they came back to the surface, it was amazing how the water would flow off their backs, but I couldn’t think of anything to compare it to.