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Yes, We Can

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lkmccray

When it comes to opening things, we’re a society of wimps. A push of the button engages gears and chains that lift our garage doors. One online retailer offers 880 items to slice open envelopes and another 2,700 to uncork wine. It’s even possible to purchase a device for breaching bananas.

This plethora of specially designed products stands in stark contrast to the tools first used to open cans— hammers and chisels. It wasn’t until 50 years after the creation of canned food that a dedicated opener appeared.

Janice Waltzer

An early grocery store. Check out those stacks of cans!

Canned foods were invented at the end of the 1700s, when the French ruler Napoleon needed a reliable way to feed his troops during wartime. Scurvy and malnutrition were taking their toll on his armed forces, and the government offered a 12,000 franc reward to anyone who could invent a way to preserve food so that it could be transported to the battlefield. In 1795, baker Nicholas Appert won the prize with his discovery that placing jars of food in boiling water prevented the contents from spoiling. But sterilized food in breakable glass jars solved only part of the problem. Around the same time, the Dutch Navy fed its troops salmon packed in tin-plated iron boxes. Thirteen of these found their way to the UK, and Briton Peter Durand patented the canning process in 1812. The first canning factory opened in London in 1813, and by the 1820s canned food was common in Britain, France, and the U.S.

Linzee McCray

Can openers from the collection of the late James Montag, courtesy of his daughter Doris Montag.

These early cans were made of thick, heavy iron and actually included the instructions to “cut round the top near the outer edge with a chisel and hammer.” (Soldiers on the battlefield, lacking those implements, found that bayonets, rocks, and even guns did the job.) It wasn’t until 1855 that a British maker of surgical instruments and knives, Robert Yates, patented the first can opener, which used a lever knife with a sharp blade.  As cans were made with lighter-weight metal, variations evolved including an 1858 lever-type opener that employed a sharp sickle that was pushed into a can and then sawed around the edge, the key opener seen on sardine cans in 1866, and the rotating-wheel can opener in 1870. The latter resembles can openers in use today, except that cans first had to be pierced in the center with a sharp metal rod and opening them required significant strength. In 1925, the Star Can Opener Company of San Francisco added the second, toothed wheel, which firmly gripped the edge of the can.

KitchieKu

An upright can opener from the '50s.

Although the first electric can openers appeared in 1931, it wasn’t until the mid-1950s that freestanding electric openers in avocado green, pink, and aqua were met with popular appeal. And in the 1980s, a can opener that cut cans open on their sides, rather than the top, appeared.

Though can openers are typically something of an afterthought, there is one type that has achieved nearly legendary status — the military-issued P-38 and P-51 openers (so named for their size — the P-38 is 38mm in length). Small, light, and easy to tuck into a pocket or attach to a key ring (and vastly superior to bayonets and rocks), the openers were distributed to GIs from World War II through the 1980s, enabling them to open their meals — K-rations and later, C-rations. The simple tool also could double as a screwdriver. Though the U.S. Armed Forces now eat MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) that don’t require openers, relief organizations still distribute P-38s along with canned food during disaster and rescue operations.

HappyHomemakerVtg and JBCurio

Canned food at its heyday.

Changes in product packaging mean that cranking on a can opener is no longer a daily ritual. Pull-tab cans invented in 1963 for beer and 1964 for carbonated drinks eliminated the need for simple “church-key” openers, and today foods of all types are packed in versions of these (more expensive) containers.

Even so, most of us still have a can opener nestled in our kitchen drawers, and I certainly understand why can openers have been reinvented over the years. Food is a requirement for life and a simple, efficient can opener is sometimes all that stands between a tin can and hunger. My father, a retired U.S. Marine, says that years after he needed it, carrying a P-38 made him feel secure. Without an opener, a can’s contents remain inaccessible to battle-weary soldiers and mothers of small children — with a good one it’s possible to provide sustenance, sate a yappy pup, and quell the rumble of empty stomachs.

A lifelong sewer/knitter and former weaver/spinner, Linzee Kull McCray, a.k.a. lkmccray, is a writer and editor living in Iowa. She feels fortunate to meet and write about people, from scientists to stitchers, who are passionate about their work. Her freelance writing appears in Quilts and More, Stitch, UPPERCASE, American Patchwork and Quilting and more. For more textile musings, visit her blog.

  • fernfiddlehead

    fernfiddlehead says:

    I love it!

    2 years ago

  • funktionslust

    funktionslust says:

    Wonderful piece! I can't believe 50 yrs went by between the invention of the can and the can opener. What a neat fact!

    2 years ago

  • NobleTextiles

    NobleTextiles says:

    A can of real turtle soup...you don't see that very often!

    2 years ago

  • mattyhandmadecrafts

    mattyhandmadecrafts says:

    Great one!

    2 years ago

  • AlisaDesign

    AlisaDesign says:

    Cool!

    2 years ago

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush says:

    Nice article! ..we are a society of wimps :p

    2 years ago

  • treasureagain

    treasureagain says:

    Thank you Linzee! That is a great article and collection of photos!

    2 years ago

  • RivalryTime

    RivalryTime says:

    Ahhhhh. The good ole days. I remember back when we didn't even have apps on our phones. I dont know how we did it :)

    2 years ago

  • BethAnnsCards

    BethAnnsCards says:

    Great Information and fun facts. Thanx!

    2 years ago

  • tigersanddragons

    tigersanddragons says:

    A can opener is one of those things that doesn't seem important, until you have a can in front of you! Thank god for swiss army knives, even though punching into a can is a real pain.

    2 years ago

  • CarefullySentCards

    CarefullySentCards says:

    Cool article, you never really think about the history of something like a can opener, but it has a rich history!

    2 years ago

  • JulieMeyer

    JulieMeyer says:

    Fun! I love that grocery store image.

    2 years ago

  • TheLittleRagamuffin

    TheLittleRagamuffin says:

    It is amazing how we take this tool for granted. Once upon a time during a tour across the country, eight starved musicians found themselves with a night off. We piled cans of baked beans, okra in tomato sauce, and canned peas into shopping baskets envisioning the first vegetables we would have eaten in weeks. It wasn't until we lit the campfire that we realized we had no way to get into the cans. Fortunately we didn't have to employ bayonets, but more than one knife was sacrificed in the process!

    2 years ago

  • LizabethDezigns

    LizabethDezigns says:

    I love the quirky history of the little things we take for granted! Thanks for sharing. Love the pic of 'Turtle Soup' and 'Mock Turtle Soup.'

    2 years ago

  • Mclovebuddy

    Mclovebuddy says:

    this is a great article. very witty.

    2 years ago

  • tokyogin

    tokyogin says:

    Twenty years ago, while visiting my boyfriends parents in Maine, we stopped at a roadside flea market. His parents gave us each a quarter and said to go find each other a gift. My boyfriend (now husband) picked out a mink can opener for me. Yes, a MINK can opener, complete with eyes! The can opener appears at every gift opportunity wrapped in a different box and signed from a different person to throw me off. And each holiday or special day, I somehow forget about it and get the daylights scared out of me when I open it!

    2 years ago

  • bedouin

    bedouin says:

    Great article ~*~ so retro, so easy to please.

    2 years ago

  • CatShyCrafts

    CatShyCrafts says:

    interesting article!

    2 years ago

  • ShabbyNChic

    ShabbyNChic says:

    What fun! Thanks for sharing this. We have many friends from another country who have never seen can openers. (They use knives.)

    2 years ago

  • HoundstoothDesign

    HoundstoothDesign says:

    thank you for the article! it's nice to learn a little about the history of something we take for granted.

    2 years ago

  • packmatthews

    packmatthews says:

    wonderful pictures. Good example of how our tools change but never disappear completely. To think that the invention of canned food was successfully rolled out without a good way to get into them. And who knew it would take so long to come up with a standard technique. Good writing, didn't seemed canned at all. You started with a good opener of course, that always preserves a well baked idea.

    2 years ago

  • ArtDecoDame

    ArtDecoDame says:

    Great post!

    2 years ago

  • OuterKnits

    OuterKnits says:

    Great story. I can never find my bayonet when I need it!

    2 years ago

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage says:

    Now we're spoiled with peel back can tops! The can opener may go the way of cursive writing. Love it!

    2 years ago

  • volkerwandering

    volkerwandering says:

    Thought provoking!

    2 years ago

  • BanglewoodSupplies

    BanglewoodSupplies says:

    Turtle soup? Wow. I feel young. I have never seen that.

    2 years ago

  • tararie

    tararie says:

    My husband and I have two P38s in a butter pat on the kitchen sink. We met in working in a military surplus store. ;) The best can opener ever! They are 20 years old and just as good as new~

    2 years ago

  • JasmineLund

    JasmineLund says:

    I agree about being spoiled with the peel-backs! Although, with a family of 8, we somehow manage to go through a couple of can openers a year. And generally, the only canned things that we use are tomatoes and cream soups as bases for foods, so that's not really a lot! Of course it's the manufacturers' faults. If anything goes wrong, it's the manufacturer's fault. And the sad thing is, that most of the time, that's not an exaggeration. And while a good many companies make a point of serving their customers well, it's miles from the amazing treatment that handmade customers get. I mean, how many representatives of a given company really know how the inside of a factory works? Yet, in the handmade world, you know that you'll be talking with the person (yes, real person, person just like you) who made your item. This person knows your item inside out, and knows exactly how to help you. How much different from a company sending you a refund in the mail; though it be just, right, and even exciting, it won't bring the satisfaction of reducing waste, etc. that handmade transactions always do.

    2 years ago

  • CalicoJunoJewelry

    CalicoJunoJewelry says:

    Very nice article!

    2 years ago

  • HoshiMono

    HoshiMono says:

    wow, how interesting! so many different can openers!!

    2 years ago

  • CopperheadCreations

    CopperheadCreations says:

    Cool openers!

    2 years ago

  • PattiTrostle

    PattiTrostle says:

    Interesting. I have seen and had some of those openers!

    2 years ago

  • MegansMenagerie

    MegansMenagerie says:

    Great post!!!

    2 years ago

  • zebracakes

    zebracakes says:

    Brilliant! I only recently discovered that the orignal canned beer was not pull-tab! Imagine my surprise when I realized that my antique beer church keys were actually for opening beer cans and not for opening canned juice! ;)

    2 years ago

  • CreativeCardsForYou

    CreativeCardsForYou says:

    Wow, really interesting!

    2 years ago

  • OhCreativeOne

    OhCreativeOne says:

    wow, very cool.

    2 years ago

  • SheEarth

    SheEarth says:

    Oh I really love the idea of soldiers at war shooting open their food, that brings hilarious imagery to my head. I often get frustrated with my can opener and threaten to use a hammer, but never thought anyone ever actually did. you have opened up my eyes and given me much amusement from this. Thank you very much!

    2 years ago

  • HandySam

    HandySam says:

    Nicely done! I have quite a bit of experience opening beer cans, although the irony is that I do it so that I can create a device that opens bottles instead of cans.

    2 years ago

  • satellitedaisy

    satellitedaisy says:

    My husband has a P-38 on his key ring 25 years after leaving the military. He never leaves home without it!

    2 years ago

  • uniquefabricgifts

    uniquefabricgifts says:

    Very interesting! Thank you!

    2 years ago

  • krissysue2

    krissysue2 says:

    I love learning the history of every day items! Thanks so much for sharing this with us. That dancing lady can opener is a hoot!

    2 years ago

  • stepbackink

    stepbackink says:

    Very informative article. Thank you

    2 years ago

  • leafprintstudio

    leafprintstudio says:

    I love food history! Interesting that many of our "technological advancements" develop as a result of war.

    2 years ago

  • AVintageWalkInTime

    AVintageWalkInTime says:

    Great story, thanks for sharing.

    2 years ago

  • hmmills

    hmmills says:

    This was a funny post, excellent writing. Thanks

    2 years ago

  • FullCircleRetro

    FullCircleRetro says:

    Always something new to learn...Thanks! =)

    2 years ago

  • LeatherheadOriginals

    LeatherheadOriginals says:

    Neat post! I love learning about the origins of everyday objects like this!

    2 years ago

  • theroyal

    theroyal says:

    thanks napoleon

    2 years ago

  • MishaGirl

    MishaGirl says:

    What marvelous images to illustrate your article with! Very interesting.

    2 years ago

  • gilstrapdesigns

    gilstrapdesigns says:

    Wow we really have gone through a lot of can openers all different kinds and colors I love the pictures.

    2 years ago

  • jennibram

    jennibram says:

    Great story Linzee - fascinating and beautifully done - thank you.

    2 years ago

  • DesignedByJae

    DesignedByJae says:

    This was really interesting and well put together! Loved the images! Thanks!

    2 years ago

  • atouchofpaisley

    atouchofpaisley says:

    I really enjoyed this story. Thank you for sharing! It was so interesting! -Toni Chanelle a Touch of Paisley Photography

    2 years ago

  • medusawolf

    medusawolf says:

    Thanks for writing this! The history of the things we tend to overlook are, more often than not, very interesting. My girlfriend likes teasing me about my insistence on completing tasks with more manual solutions rather than flipping a switch on a modern convenience, so this struck a chord with me! :)

    2 years ago

  • littlesoup

    littlesoup says:

    great story!very interesting!

    2 years ago

  • pieshomecreations

    pieshomecreations says:

    Great Photos! Love the story. I have some type of opener on the wall in our garage just not quite sure what its for or how it works...our home is 130 yrs...its neat to find the history behind things.

    2 years ago

  • thevicagirl

    thevicagirl says:

    We have become lazy in our old age. Even cans now come with things that they nearly open themself. Soon we they will be cooking all by themself as well, just sit back and wait for your food to come and find you.

    2 years ago

  • JanJat

    JanJat says:

    Haha this is fabulous and particularly appropriate... My can opener broke recently and I felt like I was back in the 1800s trying to stab this thing open and NOT stab my hand at the same time! Thanks for a great article about something we take forgranted every day...well, that is until it breaks :)

    2 years ago

  • wmalexalvarez

    wmalexalvarez says:

    I loved this, I have a bottle opener collection myself. :) Thanks for the article!

    2 years ago

  • ferrijoe

    ferrijoe says:

    My favorite can opener has always been the Swingaway brand. I wonder if it was a myth that we shouldn't buy a can with a dent in it for fear the can could be contaminated. I still wonder if I'll get sick every time I get home from the grocery store and one of the cans has a dent in it before it gets opened.

    2 years ago

  • scoutandrescue

    scoutandrescue says:

    You have to keep a can opener in the tool drawer. I think it's a rule. :-) Somewhere I have a pocket sickle-saw can opener. And they work great! Grandma always had a wall mount, which I think are the best. I even have a pink one in my shop! http://www.etsy.com/listing/69994237/pink-dazey-can-opener-1940s-model-85 Not quite everything is opened w/a pop top. I think I'll keep mine around. :-) thanks for the great piece. dahlila xo

    2 years ago

  • elleestpetite

    elleestpetite says:

    Wow, who knew? A can opener is a must in the kitchen.

    2 years ago

  • calicarpa

    calicarpa says:

    Really great article! I'm intrigued by the can of turtle soup and mock turtle soup. That was a passing trend that I never learnt much about in western cuisine. I can only imagine the health concerns of using guns to open your cans for hungry soldiers (although I guess they had other more pressing health concerns). Either way, I will NOT take my can opener for granted. Thank you!

    2 years ago

  • MomsCottage

    MomsCottage says:

    Very interesting! Great post, thanks!

    2 years ago

  • nanimoku

    nanimoku says:

    What a beautifully written post; thank you very much for writing this and presenting it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and you obviously did a lot of work in your research.

    2 years ago

  • wildfireatheart

    wildfireatheart says:

    Extremely Interesting!! You taught me something today and I always love that!

    2 years ago

  • somsstudiosupplies

    somsstudiosupplies says:

    What an amazing article. Cant do without my handy dandy can opener!

    2 years ago

  • StudioCybele

    StudioCybele says:

    Love this!!!

    2 years ago

  • theori

    theori says:

    I love to think that the ingenuity of on person way back when has helped changed the face of the world - from feeding soliders to disaster victims. Humans are pretty cool :)

    2 years ago

  • sianykitty

    sianykitty says:

    wow amazing story.. some of the style of the early grocery store still exist in the countryside of the country where I was born..

    2 years ago

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery says:

    Reminded me of my Grandmother opening cans, they used to come with a can key to curl around the top of each can and reveal what was inside. Usually corned beef, she always used to remind me to watch my fingers on sharp can edges!

    2 years ago

  • cutietiffy

    cutietiffy says:

    haha coolio!

    2 years ago

  • BagNoir

    BagNoir says:

    Great article Linzee! Love the can opener collection :)

    2 years ago

  • redemptionart

    redemptionart says:

    Love the openers, but not the canned goods...from Hawaii, everyone teases us about eating SPAM..so I have a complex..NOT..LOL!

    2 years ago

  • thehappycaravan

    thehappycaravan says:

    Ahh good old Heinz I used to work at the factory here in Wigan and my Husband is the Uk distribution Manager ! Those cans still look the same and I love beans, however a ring pull is a must he he !!!

    2 years ago

  • radakia

    radakia says:

    Very much enjoyed this article.

    2 years ago

  • LavenderField

    LavenderField says:

    Very interesting read. I never thought of can openers and how they evolved into what's available today.

    2 years ago

  • feltstories

    feltstories says:

    interesting article !!

    2 years ago

  • avesattic

    avesattic says:

    Interesting post! I remember my Mom taking a hammer and nail to a can of evaporated milk......oh no........now you know how old I am :-)

    2 years ago

  • littleshopofphotos

    littleshopofphotos says:

    So interesting! Funny that cans were around so long before the can opener!! Mock turtle soup! Ha!

    2 years ago

  • VintageBeach

    VintageBeach says:

    I have a 1920's aqua opener just like the red one in the top corner above, use it exclusively...

    2 years ago

  • suegrayjewelry

    suegrayjewelry says:

    wonderful history lesson! thank you for sharing this fascinating information!

    2 years ago

  • modelarose

    modelarose says:

    Cool article. Early earthquake warning on the stacked cans in photo, I think! Not to mention the anxiety the clerk might experience when someone comes stomping into the store in heavy boots on a wooden floor...I have at least five can openers of different designs and am very impressed by the can can, but my other opener of the same functional design (if not style) might get jealous.

    2 years ago

  • adrianaallenllc

    adrianaallenllc says:

    I enjoyed reading this one. Very entertaining and educational at the same time. Good work.

    2 years ago

  • slathered

    slathered says:

    I have to show this article to my sister-in-law. We use an old-school handcrank can opener. She'd come over to feed our cat during our vacations, and she rebelled against the opener. She said it was too hard to use and hurt her fingers. So she bought us an electric opener one year. We hated it. It always got little bits of paper from the label into the food. She moved away recently and we got rid of the electric opener. And our handcrank opener -- which belonged to my grandmother -- is back in use.

    2 years ago

  • TwistedWhimsyDesigns

    TwistedWhimsyDesigns says:

    What a great article. I don't think I've ever really thought about the history of the can opener! My sister owns this super fancy one that no one but her can ever figure out how to work. I've bought several over the years but seem to always go back to a trusty one I got like 20 years ago from K-mart :)

    2 years ago

  • TheSpeckledKat

    TheSpeckledKat says:

    I love this post! So very insightful! Thanks so much for sharing! I can never figure out an electric one. A good handy can opener is so very useful. Though I have been caught without one on more than one camping trip! That's when you get inventive! Tent stakes, knives, forks, screw drivers..anything metal and semi pointy that I can get my hands on! Who cares about dirt when you're camping?!

    2 years ago

  • TheJewelryChateau

    TheJewelryChateau says:

    Love this article!

    2 years ago

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 says:

    Great article! I've bought $30 manual can openers that work no better than a $2 can open but I have two P-38s that I can always rely on after I've given up and thrown the new and improved ones in the trash.

    2 years ago

  • GloryBDesign

    GloryBDesign says:

    Fascinating article! I, too, prefer the old time hand crank can opener. The electric ones take up too much counter space, and with a hand crank one, I can wash it much easier! No fear of electrocution!

    2 years ago

  • BarnshopAntiques

    BarnshopAntiques says:

    What a wonderful article. I learned so much that I never even thought about before. I will be extra thankful while opening my can of spinach to make lentil soup today. I am picky and usually prefer fresh or garden vegetables but for some reason canned tomatoes and canned spinach are ok with me.

    2 years ago

  • mymothershouse

    mymothershouse says:

    Wonderfully informative article with great pics. I just love learning the history of "things". I too prefer the hand can openers and have not bought an electric one since about 1990 although I would love to see one from the thirties - I didnt realize they were that old. Anybody got one?

    2 years ago

  • Iammie

    Iammie says:

    Love this article and its title!

    2 years ago

  • PAYSMAGE

    PAYSMAGE says:

    Surprising and very interesting article ! Congratulations, and Thank you !

    2 years ago

  • MyraMelinda

    MyraMelinda says:

    you gotta' love vintage when you read this! thanks for the info...

    2 years ago

  • RetroRevivalBoutique

    RetroRevivalBoutique says:

    I'm not sure I even wanna know what's in that "Mock turtle soup".... But still, very cool article! :)

    2 years ago

  • kdmask

    kdmask says:

    REAL TURTLE SOUP!! ;)

    2 years ago

  • thetarnishedhalo

    thetarnishedhalo says:

    LOVE this article! Yes, we are a society of wimps, (she says as she pours another instant cup of coffee from her super dooper gadget Coffee/latte/Cappuccino machine) :) LOVE LOVE LOVE the article!

    2 years ago

  • bestdressedgirl

    bestdressedgirl says:

    My mama still uses a little hand can crank opener.

    2 years ago

  • Balanced

    Balanced says:

    what an interesting article! I've been through so many electric can openers that always stop working for no apparent reason. I inevitably always go back to my trusty hand one. loved learning the history of these.

    2 years ago

  • Heysailorvintage

    Heysailorvintage says:

    It's amazing how this seemingly simple technology has played such an important role!

    2 years ago

  • goddessofthecosmos

    goddessofthecosmos says:

    Wonderful presentation of a very interesting article. To me, it requires a lot of faith to 'trust' whatever comes out of that can is good to eat. Thanks for sharing.

    2 years ago

  • ziemart

    ziemart says:

    Cool article! Very interesting and informative. :)

    2 years ago

  • Zoestings

    Zoestings says:

    canned spaghetti ! yummmm

    2 years ago

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage says:

    Interesting post!

    2 years ago

  • PinesVintageClothing

    PinesVintageClothing says:

    I do so appreciate a can opener. I turn the cans with the tabs upside down and use my Grandma's red 1950's Swing-A-Way opener

    2 years ago

  • indigobjects

    indigobjects says:

    Interesting!

    2 years ago

  • KettleConfections

    KettleConfections says:

    If you think about it, a manual can opener is one of the very few manually operated tools we still use. Everything now is all pre-made so a lot of manually operated tools people can use to make things either no longer exist, or is simply not made/manufactured any more.

    2 years ago

  • carlajean4u

    carlajean4u says:

    Great 'can do' attitude!!

    2 years ago

  • TheJoyofColor

    TheJoyofColor says:

    Love that :) i still have in my kitchen drawer the army type i think they are the best , simple design, less space and do the job. so design and function are at there best here.

    2 years ago

  • rivahside

    rivahside says:

    Love my Swing-a-way!

    2 years ago

  • andiespecialtysweets

    andiespecialtysweets says:

    Great article!

    2 years ago

  • edguardodeevinchsski

    edguardodeevinchsski says:

    This was such an interesting article! I wonder how many things we are over looking that need inventions right now.

    2 years ago

  • sermengtk

    sermengtk says:

    Linzee -- you have just gained a new fan. In 2012, I shall attempt to read every single post you contribute. I wish I could write like you do!!

    2 years ago

  • TheNoisyOyster

    TheNoisyOyster says:

    I always keep a small can opener (similar to a p38) in my purse. It has saved the day several times when the newer kinds have failed.

    2 years ago

  • sonjafive20

    sonjafive20 says:

    What a great article!

    2 years ago

  • EllaQuaint

    EllaQuaint says:

    Love the theme.

    2 years ago

  • AshleySpiller

    AshleySpiller says:

    Great article. I have a can opener just like the red one. I use it in my living room on the side table for decoration.

    2 years ago

  • DruidCrafts

    DruidCrafts says:

    What an amazing article! Now I want some canned turtle soup LOL

    2 years ago

  • jofoster

    jofoster says:

    Fascinating, how much we take for granted! Thanks for the post.

    2 years ago

  • weatheredsilo

    weatheredsilo says:

    Fabulous article -- thank you for the history lesson and reminder of what craftsmanship truly is. Cheers, Mandy

    2 years ago

  • ALTEREDsewFittingly

    ALTEREDsewFittingly says:

    Thanks Linzee for a fun-factual eye-opener! What great comments, too! Loved everything about it! Great pics of old labels (Real & Mock TURTLE Soup?!!) The posts bring back memories of many favorite and carefully placed- back-in-their-drawer openers! (MANY struggles, too!) Made me smile!!!

    2 years ago

  • HeatherLucille

    HeatherLucille says:

    I may be traumatized by the fact that a surgeon developed the first can opener. I do not think I can open a can of beans in the same lighthearted way ever again. HA! Fun and informative article, as always, Linzee! <3

    2 years ago

  • grimmandgrete

    grimmandgrete says:

    Great article. We have a can opener in our survival pack!

    2 years ago

  • BracketAndBrace

    BracketAndBrace says:

    This is such a cute article, but definitely true. Reminds me of my little collection of can openers lying about the house, definitely resembling the generations that lived here. Got the good old metal "punch in triangle shape" opener (at least that's what I'm calling it HAHA!), the clamp and twist, the electric one, and now some fancy gadget my grandmother found on QVC. Never really gave much thought to them until now.

    2 years ago

  • lauraslastditch

    lauraslastditch says:

    Love it! Still, I think my favorite can opener is the vintage Swing-A-Way.

    2 years ago

  • peaceblossomcandles

    peaceblossomcandles says:

    And now if they could only figure out how to can food without BPA's and other poisons getting in the food...

    2 years ago

  • PourBoyCeramics

    PourBoyCeramics says:

    What an interesting article. I enjoyed the history lesson quite a bit. Thanks for writing it.

    2 years ago

  • FreakyPeas

    FreakyPeas says:

    wow, very informative. I had no idea. What we take for granted!

    2 years ago

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    OnlyOriginalsByAJ says:

    What an interesting story! Thanks so much for sharing!

    2 years ago

  • NDMStudios

    NDMStudios says:

    Great article thanks for sharing lots of interesting facts. I never would have imagined 50 yrs went by between the invention of the can and the can opener!

    2 years ago

  • metroretrovintage

    metroretrovintage says:

    I purchased my favorite can opener last summer -- a wooden Edlun with apple green handles and 1929 patent date. What I didn't realize was that it's for opening cans of motor oil, lol. Thanks for the great article.

    2 years ago

  • tableclothpad

    tableclothpad says:

    I like articles is so nice.

    2 years ago

  • 1900boudoir

    1900boudoir says:

    Beautiful photos and interesting topic of history!

    2 years ago

  • shiningspur

    shiningspur says:

    I actually love turtle soup, but I don't know if I would eat it out of a can! haha Love the picture and the article!

    2 years ago

  • lovecakewalk

    lovecakewalk says:

    You don't appreciate them until you find yourself without one and a hankering for something canned! Great article!!

    2 years ago

  • LoneWhiteWolf

    LoneWhiteWolf says:

    Can't believe it's been 50 years! Great piece!

    2 years ago

  • LizardSkins

    LizardSkins says:

    as a military brat myself, i treasure my p38 as well! what a great article. thanks so much for sharing it with us!

    2 years ago

  • Craftelina

    Craftelina says:

    Thank you so much! With my Culture Research background this article is really interesting. The photos of various openers is a great thing to look at and think about, from teh perspective of tools evolvement. We also carry our can opener with us quite often, to all trips for sure. Cheers!

    2 years ago

  • Zalavintage

    Zalavintage says:

    One day these tools will be in a museum just as we view the tools of stone age man today! Necessity, the mother of innovation...

    2 years ago

  • lizawench

    lizawench says:

    I also love the older openers, hand crank, swing away.... didn't ever try a p38, but would give THAT a try before plugging in a newer "better" (NOT) version! Great nostalgia!!!! Thanks!

    2 years ago

  • chesspoet

    chesspoet says:

    Beautiful story. It's a testament to how creativity fills voids in more ways than we realize.

    2 years ago

  • KitchieKu

    KitchieKu says:

    I'm so thankful you included my can opener in your blog!! Who knew the can opener had such a rich history? Wonderful!!

    2 years ago

  • Maotu

    Maotu says:

    Love Love~

    2 years ago

  • BlackCherryPrintable

    BlackCherryPrintable says:

    Very cool :0)

    2 years ago

  • HausofTopper

    HausofTopper says:

    ummm. wow... seriously 50 years???? That is insane...

    2 years ago

  • madelinefeliciano

    madelinefeliciano says:

    I can seriously say, that you learn something new every day. Loved your story!!!

    2 years ago

  • organicallysewn

    organicallysewn says:

    This is the kind of history that could be taught in school. I am totally fascinated with how and why things happen. Great piece.

    2 years ago

  • iris756

    iris756 says:

    Yes! We Can!

    2 years ago

  • WingedWorld

    Vickie Moore from WingedWorld says:

    Another great article by Linzee! Thanks for the history lesson. I'm feeling more grateful toward my can opener already.

    2 years ago

  • irinisklavounou

    irini from IrinisWorld says:

    Who was it said that an outlaw is a loose can-opener in the supermarket of society.

    213 days ago