Joseph Lee

Joseph Lee, an African American Baking Icon

We celebrate Juneteenth with a profile of an African American Baking Icon, Joseph Lee. June 19,1865 marks the end of slavery in the United States. We thank Joseph Lee for his inventions that are so much a part of bakeries of today.


An African American Baker who wanted to find a way to simplify the bread making process and create more uniform loaves. In 1894, he filed a patent for a kneading machine that mixed and kneaded dough while reducing the amount of labor. Eight years later he patented an improvement that advanced its power. He also wanted to eliminate throwing out day old bread and use it for something more. He believed bread crumbs were better than cracker crumbs. In 1895, he patented a device to mechanize tearing, crumbling, and grinding bread into bread crumbs. He eventually sold the machine to Royal Worcester Bread Crumb Company of Boston and later made it's way to restaurants worldwide. Joseph Lee may have died over a century ago, but his work lives on in the path he helped forge for African Americans and his bread machines are considered the basis for those still used today in the baking industry. Joseph Lee was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame on May 1-2, 2019. #Juneteenth @Essentialbaking

Juneteenth – June 19, 1865 marks the end of slavery in the United States.