The frustrations of can openers

Published 7:30 am Saturday, June 18, 2022

Have you ever struggled with a can opener? I was surprised when I read that the first tin can was patented in 1810. The inventor was a man named Peter Duran. Housewives used hammers and chisels to open cans in those days. The first patent for a can opener was in 1858.

It was fifty years before someone came up with the idea of inventing something really useful: a real can opener. I can’t imagine why nobody ventured to tackle it during all that time… Most people were in need of a handy gadget such as that. It must have been a delight to have the instrument because the early cans were heavy, made by hand out of sheets of metal. They were hard to open because of the weight. Housewives were not the only ones that needed and benefitted from the instrument. Can you guess who else? Soldiers who sometimes lived weeks and months in the fields relied on canned foods. They used the can opener to replace field knives, rocks and bayonets.

Have you ever been so frustrated with a can opener that you felt like pitching it across the room? Looking back to the early time of my marriage, hand can openers were about all there was available, I remember my daddy placing a Coca-Cola opener in a handy place in our kitchen. He used it to open his favorite Coke every Sunday morning, saving me a sip from the bottom.

Then when electric openers became available, I sometimes found it difficult using one of them. I thought surely somebody had hit the nail on the head when a lot of cans began to have those pop-up fizzlers (tabs) on canned drinks, vegetables, soups, and other things. Every one of those I get my hands on, I hold my breath in hope it works for me. Sometime it does, sometime I can’t budge the tab on the top. When it works, it allows me to roll the top back and you can remove it with ease or avoid cutting your finger. Eventually when people finally started to notice the usefulness of the can opener, it was probably sparked by the military.

In case you have a favorite electric can opener that does not perform so well, maybe it might just need cleaning. You could be on the verge of tossing it. But wait; Why not try this simple cleaning method? If it works, that’s good. If not, get rid of it.

The food gear and the cutter wheel are the two working parts. Wash the food gear with soapy water and use an old toothbrush to clean out the remaining parts of food. Dry it well. Use a pipe cleaner to clean between parts. To stop them from rusting and to keep them lubricated put a drop of oil on the parts. Try the toothbrush, soapy water, pipe cleaner and oil recipe and you should get it performing again.