The bread knife was invented by a Syracuse, New York resident named Joseph Burns in 1919. Reportedly, inspiration struck while he was using a scallop-edged glass-cutting tool. Burns’ serrated bread knife made it possible to slice loaves of bread without significant tearing or squishing. His design was also able to cut cleanly in both directions, further preserving the integrity of the bread. Notably, Burns’ invention arrived approximately 10 years before the invention of the first whole-loaf bread-slicing machine. Although sliced bread is now easily accessible, many people still purchase or bake unsliced loaves that need cutting, and Burns’ invention is considered a kitchen necessity today.