Innovation in the Pizzeria

By Madison Back

Baseball may be the traditional story of America’s favorite pastime, but there is one hobby kept by all Americans that doesn’t require any athletic skill whatsoever – eating.

Americans collectively eat between 90 and 100 acres of pizza per day, making the cheesy Italian treat a favorite food across the nation.  The craving for pizza is easily satisfied by fast food restaurants with speedy delivery, but there is an overlooked invention that facilitates pizza consumption even further.  The segmented pizza crust system is a tool patented in 1968 that pizzerias abound still use today.
 Anyone who has ordered a pizza pie before knows that the deliciously warm combination of cheese, sauce, dough, and the occasional toppings is always served readily prepared with eight slices pre-designated.  Even non-crust eaters can see the necessity of the crust, making it possible for the food to be one eaten without utensils.  But in April 2006, three inventors, Peter Graham, Todd Craig, and Carrie Goff, patented a device that would change the concept of pizza crust forever – the segmented pizza crust system.  Such technology has given rise to popular fast food creations like Pizza Hut’s Twisted Crust pizzas.   The Twisted Crust pizza pairs Pizza Hut’s traditional hand-tossed pizza with a breadstick border, providing a tasty option for everyone – including former crust haters.  But culinary innovations like the Twisted Crust pizza were only made possible by an invention as revolutionary as the segmented pizza crust system. 
First, the device takes a mass of dough and flattens the inner portion to define it from the outer crust border, which will ultimately be substantially thicker than the inner portion.  The actual segmenting comes into play next, as “a plurality of cutting fins of a cutting ring” is pressed through this outer crust to create the individual even divisions within the crust.  The cutting ring aspect of the system is non-limiting, allowing for various shapes, such as “square ring shapes, circular ring shapes, ovular ring shapes, triangular ring shapes, and others” to form the pieces of breadsticks that comprise the crust.  The process of manually turning the cutting ring is repeated multiple times to make several evenly sized pieces of dough that come together to form a ring of crust around the pizza.
The invention has developed over time, making way for a more complex pizza innovation.  The segmented pizza crust system has an element that allows for “disposing a filling in the outer crust prior to dividing the outer crust into the plurality of segments”.  In this case, the breadstick pieces are filled with sauce or cheese, offering a tasty surprise for pizza lovers.
Regardless of how you prefer to enjoy your pizza, Graham, Craig, and Goff’s segmented pizza crust system is undoubtedly an advancement in the pizza industry that provides an interesting option to a simple slice of carbohydrate heaven.

United States Patent for the Segmented Pizza Crust System

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