LAS VEGAS — Joseph Lee, an early innovator in the automation of bread production, will be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) alongside 18 other honorees. During the late 1800s, Mr. Lee invented a device that could mix and knead dough as well a machine that could create bread crumbs.
According to the African American Registry, Mr. Lee was born in 1849 in Boston. He held jobs at a bakery and restaurants until he eventually opened three restaurants of his own in the late 1890s and a catering business in 1902.
As a restauranteur, Mr. Lee became interested in creating equipment that could simplify the bread making process and produce uniform loaves. According to the NIHF, in 1894, he filed a patent for a kneading machine that thoroughly mixed and kneaded dough while also reducing the amount of labor needed during production. Eight years later, he patented an improvement to the machine that helped advance its kneading power.
Mr. Lee also received a patent in 1895 for creating a device that generated bread crumbs. After seeing countless loaves go to waste at his restaurants, he developed a machine that could tear, crumble and grind bread into crumbs.
In partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, NIHF will honor Mr. Lee in Washington at the NIHF Induction Ceremony, being held May 1-2.