A century ago, bread bought in stores was handmade, a time and labor-intensive process.
That changed when an African-American food executive from Boston, Joseph Lee, invented an automatic bread-making machine.
This device mixed the ingredients and then kneaded the dough, dropping the cost of making bread while increasing production.
Lee also developed a machine to eliminate the waste of unsold bread by recycling the loaves into bread crumbs — which proved to be popular in restaurants the world over.
Today in the U.S., African-American families buy an average of $232 worth of bakery products annually.
Sources: Black Inventor Online Museum
Statistical Abstract of the United States 2009, t. 664