Tekla Bread crate from early Cleveland based Nabisco brand (photo courtesy of Meander Auctions)
Ohio Life

Ohio Finds: Tekla Bread Crate

This vintage bread crate comes from an early, Cleveland-based Nabisco brand.

The phrase “the best thing since sliced bread” is often used to describe something that is considered particularly good or useful, but it is based in a real revelation: factory-made, machine-sliced bread.

At the turn of the 19th century, American families obtained more than half of their daily calories from grains (primarily in the form of bread), and nearly all of it was made by women at home or in small neighborhood bakeries.

By 1930, nearly all bread was produced by men in factories, a change that was driven in large part by industrialization. Many major food companies were born during this era, including the National Biscuit Co., known today as Nabisco.

Keeping bread fresh was key to winning over consumers, which led companies to open regional factories across the country. Tekla, one of the early Nabisco brands, began production in Cleveland around 1903, and its bread was soon available throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.

Just two years later, the brand disappeared as rapidly as it had risen, a casualty of the roiling market of mergers and consolidations. A remnant of this era comes in the form of this brightly colored Tekla bread crate, complete with its original rope handles.

Sold: $531.25

Hollie Davis is a co-owner of Meander Auctions in Whipple, Ohio. meanderauctions.com