The Black Baker Who Revolutionized The Bread Industry

young african baker in apron kneading the dough and baking homemade bread
Briona Lamback
April 27, 2024

 Joseph Lee was a popular hotelier in 1890s Boston. Woodland Park Hotel was a bustling multi-acre resort known for catering to an upper-crust clientele. But his brilliant invention made his success soar, and that's why the hotel had one issue: they were making too much bread.

When Lee's automatic bread-kneading machine resulted in more loaves and rolls than his guests could eat, he knew he had something special and didn't stop there. Food corporations caught wind of Lee's work and wanted their slice.

He refused to sell his innovations for crumbs. The entrepreneur only budged on a deal that included selling his patent rights and making him a stockholder in the National Bread Company. 

Lee constantly pursued his dreams and used his creativity to propel forward while never losing sight of his value.

To prevent food waste, he also invented and mass produced bread-crumb-making machines that are still used in hotel kitchens and restaurants worldwide. Today, Black Bread Company is inspired by Lee’s legacy as the only Black-owned brand of sliced bread on grocery store shelves.

We've always been creative and innovative people. We still are. Keeping our ideas to ourselves doesn’t help anyone. This is your sign to get ready to eat and leave no crumbs. How can you rise to the occasion and bring your ideas to life?