General Question

Protagoras's avatar

What was the best thing before sliced bread?

Asked by Protagoras (135points) January 7th, 2008

Many people use the phrase “the greatest thing since sliced bread”. Before the bread slicer was invented, what did people say when hyperbolically touting a new invention?

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23 Answers

sferik's avatar

Apparently, the phrase comes from a 1930s marketing campaign for Wonder Bread. So, I’m guessing people didn’t use the phrase “the best thing since…” before the ads.

jgoose's avatar

if the phrase is from the 1930’s maybe a possible precursor was ‘best thing since horseless carriages”?

absolutely's avatar

The llama – they’re a source of wool, meat, and other stuff, and they’re good for transporting things. Plus the name is cool. Llama. Is it the first L that’s silent, or the second one?

Northstate's avatar

Same with Aardvarks – Minus the good wool, meat, and other stuff. If I was the one responsible for creating the English language: A) It would be REALLY screwed up, and B) I would have gone with Ahrdvark. But then again, that is most likley why they appointed Webster to come up with new words. How did Webster get that gig anyway? And who is Webster?

Fixitfox's avatar

A pocket on a shirt.

jonno's avatar

Regular bread?

kevbo's avatar

Eli Whitney’s cotton gin

MikeMcG's avatar

Maybe whole bread?

bluemukaki's avatar

Guns. for sure.

finkelitis's avatar

Perforated bread?

Foolaholic's avatar

I believe the original best thing was fire.

christybird's avatar

“The best thing since the agricultural revolution” has a nice ring to it. So does “The best thing since bronze.” Although bronze probably wasn’t as good as steel. Hmm, I feel like this is turning into a Jared Diamond book.

@finkelitis: I really like the idea of perforated bread.

brownlemur's avatar

Antiseptics (Joseph Lister, 1867).

hossman's avatar

Iron – the best thing since bronze.

mdy's avatar

How about—man learning how to make fire?

(Foolaholic and I have the same response, I know).

Northstate's avatar

THE WHEEL!!!! How about the wheel. The wheel was post-fire and yet nobody has said anything about it. Granted, you can’t typically eat a wheel, but if the wheel was made of loaves of bread (non-sliced, of course)?????

But really – THE WHEEL!!!! (maybe.)

hossman's avatar

The best thing since walking erect?

Northstate's avatar

Since walking erect? Easy. Being born? Crawling? :)

DryaUnda's avatar

Basing my answer off of sferik’s and having it be as temporally close to sliced bread as possible, I would have to answer the harnessing of alternating current.

Talos's avatar

Beer. I mean sure, the wheel was a great invention, but it doesn’t go nearly as well with Pizza.

lumpygee's avatar

guttenburg’s printing press created essentially the universal spread of free information, I think that is the best invention of times before wonder bread’s aforementioned slogan hit the mainstream.

gpjuson's avatar

clean fresh water

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