© 2023 KUNR
An illustrated mountainscape with trees and a broadcast tower.
Serving Northern Nevada and the Eastern Sierra
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Programming update: Tune in to 1A from 11 a.m. to noon on weekdays.

Daniel Thompson, Inventor Of The Bagel Machine, Dies


American innovation can take many forms. The latest smart phone, 3-D printers are the kinds of things we talk about these days.


Well, in 1963, Daniel Thompson changed America with an invention that was high-tech for its time.

CRAIG THOMPSON: We were always around dad and his bagel machines when we were young.

MCEVERS: That's right - bagel machines. This is Craig Thompson talking about his father who died earlier this month at age 94.

SHAPIRO: Daniel Thompson's device led to the mass marketing of what was previously a Jewish specialty item. His son says a bagel machine was actually his baker grandfather's dream.

THOMPSON: That's where he really got the idea for it, by helping his father.

MCEVERS: And once the machine was just right, Daniel Thompson started selling his bagels to the brand Lender's, and bagels started popping up in supermarkets everywhere.

MATTHEW GOODMAN: You know, there really is a schism in the history of bagels. There is a pre-Daniel Thompson history and a post-Daniel Thompson history.

SHAPIRO: That's Matthew Goodman who wrote the book "Jewish Food: The World At Table."

GOODMAN: Initially, the bagel was small, dense, chewy, flavorful. Today, bagels are large, soft, pillowy, flavorless.

SHAPIRO: But Craig Thompson defends his family's products.

THOMPSON: The bagel changed to provide for the tastes of the average person in this country.

MCEVERS: Whether you like his bagels or not, Daniel Thompson was truly an innovator. He also invented the folding ping-pong table.

SHAPIRO: So as Jews around the world begin fasting for Yom Kippur, let us all thank the late Daniel Thompson for allowing us to easily break our fasts with bagels.

MCEVERS: And some ping-pong. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.