Who Invented the Bread Machine?

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Joseph Lee, the inventor of the bread machine


Have you ever wondered who invented the bread machine? Who was this brilliant man or woman that made bread making at home so much easier? There have been some creative people in history who came up with genius ideas making the life of their generation easier. We are fortunate enough to benefit from the many discoveries and inventions made in the past. 

The man that invented the bread machine is called Joseph Lee. He was a big believer of automation, rather than using extra manpower. Joseph Lee was born on the 19th of July, 1849 in Boston. The invention of Joseph Lee’s bread machine is remembered even until today. 

Early Life Of Joseph Lee:

Joseph Lee had his interests in food since his early days. He used to work in a bakery when he was a boy. Thanks to his amazing talent, it wasn’t long before he started to cook and prepare food. He opened two successful restaurants in the Boston area as well. 

Joseph Lee, the inventor of the bread machine

Then, he changed careers. In the late 1890s he managed and owned the Woodland Park Hotel in Newton, Massachusetts (for a total of 17 years). Of course, his love was still in the food services industry, and in 1902 he decided to open a catering business called “The Lee Catering Company”. This catering company served the wealthy population of the area he was in. He was a very busy man, because at the same time he also operated “The Squantum Inn”, a summer resort in South Shores specializing in seafood.

Around this time he became interested in eliminating a situation that had annoyed him a lot. This was the start of his bread making journey. He mainly focused on bread making when he worked as a supplier of food in the US Coast Survey. The first bread machine was invented and patented on June 4, 1895. He sold the rights of his bread machine and soon after the Royal Worcester Bread Company of Boston had his devices in major restaurants all over the world.

Crumbling Of Bread:

During his catering business, there were issues which deeply frustrated this young man. Joseph Lee became immensely concerned regarding the amount of bread thrown out as waste. The bread couldn’t be used any longer if it was older than one day. He wanted to create a machine where they could reuse the old bread. The dried bread was crumbled, making bread crumbs. He set out to invent a device that could automate the entire process of crumbling and grinding the bread into crumbs. He could use the bread crumbs for various dishes including batter for cakes, fried fish, croquettes and many more dishes.

Joseph Lee Bread Machine:

Like other famous inventors, he wasn’t able to make a perfect automated bread machine in one try. His first bread machine could only crumble bread that’s a day old. This made old bread useful in other recipes, and there was a lot less waste thanks to this invention. After he sold his first design, he made the bread machine similar to what we have in our kitchens now. With this extra money, he made his previous bread machine better. He wanted to use less manpower to handle the machine. This automated bread machine required only one or two men (instead of six) to make it work. It was also able to mix dough and knead the bread as well. Also, labour cost was eliminated and the machine worked on the principle to maintain hygiene. Because of his genius invention, he was able to revolutionize bread making.

With time, Joseph Lee’s accomplishments were lining up and he became a successful person. His creativity along with his skills and hard work paid off well for his entire life. Joseph Lee’s bread machine is one of the most popular and amazing inventions in the baking industry. Lee, the founder of this machine, made sure that it could uniformly knead the dough and still maintain its quality and flavour. This was unheard of in that time.


Bread makers today have improved a lot. The loaves even look very professional now. Thanks to Joseph Lee’s invention we can all make quality and delicious bread at home. They also allow you to make various types of bread and add fruits and nuts to your recipes. Don’t forget to thank Joseph Lee the next time you make bread!

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Macy Wilson is a published author and bread baking expert. She is also known as the bread lady, and writes quality content for Make The Bread. When she's not writing, you will find her in the kitchen or playing with her cat.