11. Tin Opener

Canned veal taken on Sir. William Parry’s Arctic expedition in 1824 had this instruction on its label. “Cut round on the top, near the outer edge, with a chisel and a hammer”

This was how canned food was sold at that time. The only way of opening the can was to cut it open with a chisel and a hammer!

As an alternative to the chisel and the hammer, Frenchman Angilbert proposed in 1833, to modify the can so that it could be opened by melting the solder around the lid.

Bouvert, another French inventor, suggested that a steel wire be soldered between the lid and the body and which could be removed by applying heat.

The first can opener was such an elaborate mechanism that the shopkeeper had to use it, before handing over the can to the customer.

The introduction of tin plates in 1860s paved the way for smaller can opener and easier handling. The first can opener was the bull-head type. It had a steel blade attached to a cast iron handle. It is still being used today.

Today there is a wide variety of can openers, in different fancy designs and many sizes.

Visalakshi Ramani


15 Responses to 11. Tin Opener

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