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Yes, We Can

Jan 5, 2012

by Linzee McCray

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

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.

Can Opener Retro Kitchen Decor 1920s Edlund Junior Antique Can Opener with Yellow Painted Wood Handles Vintage Kitchen Decor SALE
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Bottle Opener with Vintage Wall Mounted Friendship Lounge Winter Beer Can Cap Catcher
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Vintage Beer Bottle and Can Opener Collection from 1950s and 1960s
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Vintage Can Opener Collectible Can Can Opener Dancing Lady Skirt and Stockings ((Free Shipping USA))
Vintage Can Opener Collectible Can Can Opener Dancing Lady Skirt and Stockings ((Free Shipping USA))
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1968 The New Can-Opener Cookbook Vintage Poppy Cannon
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151 comments

  • fernfiddlehead

    fernfiddlehead said 5 years ago

    I love it!

  • funktionslust

    funktionslust said 5 years ago

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

  • NobleTextiles

    NobleTextiles said 5 years ago

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

  • mattyhandmadecrafts

    mattyhandmadecrafts said 5 years ago

    Great one!

  • AlisaDesign

    AlisaDesign said 5 years ago

    Cool!

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush said 5 years ago

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

  • treasureagain

    treasureagain said 5 years ago

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

  • RivalryTime

    RivalryTime said 5 years ago

    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 :)

  • BethAnnsCards

    BethAnnsCards said 5 years ago

    Great Information and fun facts. Thanx!

  • tigersanddragons

    tigersanddragons said 5 years ago

    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.

  • CarefullySentCards

    CarefullySentCards said 5 years ago

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

  • JulieMeyer

    JulieMeyer said 5 years ago

    Fun! I love that grocery store image.

  • TheLittleRagamuffin

    TheLittleRagamuffin said 5 years ago

    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!

  • LizabethDezigns

    LizabethDezigns said 5 years ago

    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.'

  • Mclovebuddy

    Mclovebuddy said 5 years ago

    this is a great article. very witty.

  • tokyogin

    tokyogin said 5 years ago

    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!

  • bedouin

    bedouin said 5 years ago

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

  • CatShyCrafts

    CatShyCrafts said 5 years ago

    interesting article!

  • ShabbyNChic

    ShabbyNChic said 5 years ago

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

  • HoundstoothDesign

    HoundstoothDesign said 5 years ago

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

  • packmatthews

    packmatthews said 5 years ago

    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.

  • ArtDecoDame

    ArtDecoDame said 5 years ago

    Great post!

  • OuterKnits

    OuterKnits said 5 years ago

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

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage said 5 years ago

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

  • volkerwandering

    volkerwandering said 5 years ago

    Thought provoking!

  • BanglewoodSupplies

    BanglewoodSupplies said 5 years ago

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

  • tararie

    tararie said 5 years ago

    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~

  • JasmineLund

    JasmineLund said 5 years ago

    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.

  • CalicoJunoJewelry

    CalicoJunoJewelry said 5 years ago

    Very nice article!

  • HoshiMono

    HoshiMono said 5 years ago

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

  • CopperheadCreations

    CopperheadCreations said 5 years ago

    Cool openers!

  • PattiTrostle

    PattiTrostle said 5 years ago

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

  • MegansMenagerie

    MegansMenagerie said 5 years ago

    Great post!!!

  • zebracakes

    zebracakes said 5 years ago

    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! ;)

  • CreativeCardsForYou

    CreativeCardsForYou said 5 years ago

    Wow, really interesting!

  • OhCreativeOne

    OhCreativeOne said 5 years ago

    wow, very cool.

  • SheEarth

    SheEarth said 5 years ago

    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!

  • HandySam

    HandySam said 5 years ago

    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.

  • satellitedaisy

    satellitedaisy said 5 years ago

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

  • uniquefabricgifts

    uniquefabricgifts said 5 years ago

    Very interesting! Thank you!

  • krissysue2

    krissysue2 said 5 years ago

    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!

  • stepbackink

    stepbackink said 5 years ago

    Very informative article. Thank you

  • leafprintstudio

    leafprintstudio said 5 years ago

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

  • AVintageWalkInTime

    AVintageWalkInTime said 5 years ago

    Great story, thanks for sharing.

  • hmmills

    hmmills said 5 years ago

    This was a funny post, excellent writing. Thanks

  • FullCircleRetro

    FullCircleRetro said 5 years ago

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

  • LeatherheadOriginals

    LeatherheadOriginals said 5 years ago

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

  • theroyal

    theroyal said 5 years ago

    thanks napoleon

  • MishaGirl

    MishaGirl said 5 years ago

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

  • gilstrapdesigns

    gilstrapdesigns said 5 years ago

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

  • jennibram

    jennibram said 5 years ago

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

  • DesignedByJae

    DesignedByJae said 5 years ago

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

  • atouchofpaisley

    atouchofpaisley said 5 years ago

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

  • medusawolf

    medusawolf said 5 years ago

    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! :)

  • littlesoup

    littlesoup said 5 years ago

    great story!very interesting!

  • pieshomecreations

    pieshomecreations said 5 years ago

    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.

  • thevicagirl

    thevicagirl said 5 years ago

    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.

  • JanJat

    JanJat said 5 years ago

    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 :)

  • wmalexalvarez

    wmalexalvarez said 5 years ago

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

  • ferrijoe

    ferrijoe said 5 years ago

    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.

  • scoutandrescue

    scoutandrescue said 5 years ago

    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

  • elleestpetite

    elleestpetite said 5 years ago

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

  • calicarpa

    calicarpa said 5 years ago

    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!

  • MomsCottage

    MomsCottage said 5 years ago

    Very interesting! Great post, thanks!

  • nanimoku

    nanimoku said 5 years ago

    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.

  • wildfireatheart

    wildfireatheart said 5 years ago

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

  • somsstudiosupplies

    somsstudiosupplies said 5 years ago

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

  • StudioCybele

    StudioCybele said 5 years ago

    Love this!!!

  • theori

    theori said 5 years ago

    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 :)

  • sianykitty

    sianykitty said 5 years ago

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

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 5 years ago

    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!

  • cutietiffy

    cutietiffy said 5 years ago

    haha coolio!

  • BagNoir

    BagNoir said 5 years ago

    Great article Linzee! Love the can opener collection :)

  • redemptionart

    redemptionart said 5 years ago

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

  • thehappycaravan

    thehappycaravan said 5 years ago

    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 !!!

  • radakia

    radakia said 5 years ago

    Very much enjoyed this article.

  • LavenderField

    LavenderField said 5 years ago

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

  • feltstories

    feltstories said 5 years ago

    interesting article !!

  • avesattic

    avesattic said 5 years ago

    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 :-)

  • littleshopofphotos

    littleshopofphotos said 5 years ago

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

  • VintageBeach

    VintageBeach said 5 years ago

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

  • suegrayjewelry

    suegrayjewelry said 5 years ago

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

  • modelarose

    modelarose said 5 years ago

    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.

  • adrianaallenllc

    adrianaallenllc said 5 years ago

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

  • slathered

    slathered said 5 years ago

    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.

  • TwistedWhimsyDesigns

    TwistedWhimsyDesigns said 5 years ago

    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 :)

  • TheSpeckledKat

    TheSpeckledKat said 5 years ago

    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?!

  • TheJewelryChateau

    TheJewelryChateau said 5 years ago

    Love this article!

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 said 5 years ago

    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.

  • GloryBDesign

    GloryBDesign said 5 years ago

    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!

  • BarnshopAntiques

    BarnshopAntiques said 5 years ago

    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.

  • mymothershouse

    mymothershouse said 5 years ago

    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?

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 5 years ago

    Love this article and its title!

  • PAYSMAGE

    PAYSMAGE said 5 years ago

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

  • MyraMelinda

    MyraMelinda said 5 years ago

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

  • RetroRevivalBoutique

    RetroRevivalBoutique said 5 years ago

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

  • kdmask

    kdmask said 5 years ago

    REAL TURTLE SOUP!! ;)

  • thetarnishedhalo

    thetarnishedhalo said 5 years ago

    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!

  • bestdressedgirl

    bestdressedgirl said 5 years ago

    My mama still uses a little hand can crank opener.

  • Balanced

    Balanced said 5 years ago

    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.

  • Heysailorvintage

    Heysailorvintage said 5 years ago

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

  • goddessofthecosmos

    goddessofthecosmos said 5 years ago

    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.

  • ziemart

    ziemart said 5 years ago

    Cool article! Very interesting and informative. :)

  • Zoestings

    Zoestings said 5 years ago

    canned spaghetti ! yummmm

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 5 years ago

    Interesting post!

  • PinesVintageClothing

    PinesVintageClothing said 5 years ago

    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

  • indigobjects

    indigobjects said 5 years ago

    Interesting!

  • KettleConfections

    KettleConfections said 5 years ago

    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.

  • carlajean4u

    carlajean4u said 5 years ago

    Great 'can do' attitude!!

  • TheJoyofColor

    TheJoyofColor said 5 years ago

    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.

  • rivahside

    rivahside said 5 years ago

    Love my Swing-a-way!

  • andiespecialtysweets

    andiespecialtysweets said 5 years ago

    Great article!

  • edguardodeevinchsski

    edguardodeevinchsski said 5 years ago

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

  • sermengtk

    sermengtk said 5 years ago

    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!!

  • TheNoisyOyster

    TheNoisyOyster said 5 years ago

    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.

  • sonjafive20

    sonjafive20 said 5 years ago

    What a great article!

  • EllaQuaint

    EllaQuaint said 5 years ago

    Love the theme.

  • AshleySpiller

    AshleySpiller said 5 years ago

    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.

  • DruidCrafts

    DruidCrafts said 5 years ago

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

  • jofoster

    jofoster said 5 years ago

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

  • weatheredsilo

    weatheredsilo said 5 years ago

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

  • ALTEREDsewFittingly

    ALTEREDsewFittingly said 5 years ago

    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!!!

  • HeatherLucille

    HeatherLucille said 5 years ago

    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

  • grimmandgrete

    grimmandgrete said 5 years ago

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

  • BracketAndBrace

    BracketAndBrace said 5 years ago

    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.

  • lauraslastditch

    lauraslastditch said 5 years ago

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

  • peaceblossomcandles

    peaceblossomcandles said 5 years ago

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

  • PourBoyCeramics

    PourBoyCeramics said 5 years ago

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

  • FreakyPeas

    FreakyPeas said 5 years ago

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

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    OnlyOriginalsByAJ said 5 years ago

    What an interesting story! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • NDMStudios

    NDMStudios said 5 years ago

    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!

  • metroretrovintage

    metroretrovintage said 5 years ago

    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.

  • tableclothpad

    tableclothpad said 5 years ago

    I like articles is so nice.

  • 1900boudoir

    1900boudoir said 5 years ago

    Beautiful photos and interesting topic of history!

  • shiningspur

    shiningspur said 5 years ago

    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!

  • lovecakewalk

    lovecakewalk said 5 years ago

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

  • LoneWhiteWolf

    LoneWhiteWolf said 5 years ago

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

  • LizardSkins

    LizardSkins said 5 years ago

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

  • Craftelina

    Craftelina said 5 years ago

    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!

  • Zalavintage

    Zalavintage said 5 years ago

    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...

  • lizawench

    lizawench said 5 years ago

    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!

  • chesspoet

    chesspoet said 5 years ago

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

  • KitchieKu

    KitchieKu said 5 years ago

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

  • Maotu

    Maotu said 5 years ago

    Love Love~

  • BlackCherryPrintable

    BlackCherryPrintable said 5 years ago

    Very cool :0)

  • HausofTopper

    HausofTopper said 5 years ago

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

  • madelinefeliciano

    madelinefeliciano said 5 years ago

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

  • organicallysewn

    organicallysewn said 5 years ago

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

  • iris756

    iris756 said 5 years ago

    Yes! We Can!

  • WingedWorld

    Vickie Moore from WingedWorld said 5 years ago

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

  • irinisklavounou

    irini from IrinisWorld said 4 years ago

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

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