When someone made a fresh sandwich in 1926, little did they know that it would remain untouched over 95 years later. The lunch item in question is being kept in a dark, temperature-controlled room at the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Centre in Washington, USA. The curators are careful not to expose the sandwich to harsh light, and avoid any conditions where the bread could grow mould and decay…or else the nearly century old sandwich could be toast.
You may be confused. If you’re bready, we’ll try and clear things up.
A slice of history
The sandwich apparently belonged to World War I-era pilot Clyde Pangborn, who was born near the Wenatchee area but gained worldwide fame after he completed the world’s first nonstop trans-Pacific flight in 1931. Pangborn set off from Japan with his co-pilot in a single-engine airplane and crash-landed in Wenatchee over 41 hours later. The crash landing was Pangborn’s own idea though, since he decided to save fuel by making the flight without landing gear.
Pangborn emerged from the mostly undamaged plane, and went on to have a 40-year flying career before dying in 1958.
The Wenatchee Museum has collected a number or artifacts to commemorate Clyde Pangborn’s historic flight, including the original plane’s propeller. In 2009, the collection grew even bigger as a dried out sandwich was donated to the museum labelled: “1926 Pangborn History Sandwich”.
Mystery meat? (or a trail of breadcrumbs?)
The sandwich was donated by Pete Walz, who found it in his attic preserved in a red tin. Pete’s father had written a bunch of notes about the sandwich, even claiming that it travelled across the Pacific Ocean aboard Pangborn’s plane. But the local historians don’t believe it, since the dates don’t quite add up.
Museum curator Anna Spencer thinks that the sandwich was kept before the famous Pacific flight, since Pangborn had already made a name for himself in his hometown by 1926.
We still don’t know if the sandwich actually belonged to Pangborn, or if it was even made for him. We don’t even know what kind of sandwich it is … and we’re definitely not taking a bite to find out!
Nevertheless, the museum intends to keep the sandwich safe and sound for years to come. As Anna Spencer states, “I just think it’s fascinating.”