Tin cans were around long before the first can opener was patented. The origin of the tin can is usually attributed to Peter Durand in 1810, with the first canning plant opened in England in 1813. There also is some evidence of heavy metal cans were in common use in the Dutch Navy during the 1770s. In any event, the can opener did not make an appearance until the 1850s. Some sources identify Englishman Robert Yeates as having patented the can opener in 1855. The first can opener patent in the United States was issued to Ezra Warner in 1858.
More facts about can openers:
- The classic design for the can opener is attributed to William Lyman. The 1870 design included the familiar wheel that moves along the rim of the can, severing the lid. This design remained popular until 1925, when a serrated edge was added to the wheel.
- The use of specialized keys to open cans dates to 1866 and was the method used by the United States military. The keys used today on cans of sardines and corned beef are essentially the same as those of the early design.
- The earliest tin cans were thick, often weighing more than the food they contained. Instructions for opening the cans often included the use of a hammer and chisel. The first can openers were designed for use with cans that were considerably thinner than the previous types of cans.
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How could one not be interested to find out how cans were opened so far before the invention of the can opener! I found your article very interesting, especially considering this fact.
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