Have you ever fought with a can opener? I was surprised to read that the first tin can was patented in 1810. The inventor was a man named Peter Duran. Back then, housewives used hammers and chisels to open cans. The first patent for a can opener dates back to 1858.
It was fifty years before anyone came up with the idea of inventing something really useful: an actual can opener. I can’t imagine why nobody dared to tackle it in all this time… Most people needed a handy device like this. It must have been a pleasure to own the instrument as the early jugs were heavy and hand made from sheet metal. They were difficult to open due to the weight. Not only housewives needed and benefited from the tool. Can you guess who else? Soldiers, sometimes living in the fields for weeks and months, relied on canned food. They used the can opener to replace field knives, stones, and bayonets.
Have you ever been so frustrated with a can opener that you wanted to throw it across the room? Looking back to the early days of my marriage, can openers were pretty much all there was. I remember my dad placing a Coca-Cola opener in a handy spot in our kitchen. He would use 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 to use one of them. I thought someone hit the nail on the head when a lot of cans had these pop up fizzers (tabs) on canned drinks, veggies, soups and other things. I hold my breath on every one I can get my hands on, hoping it works for me. Sometimes it does, sometimes I can’t move the tab at the top. If it works I can roll the top back and you can remove it with ease or avoid cutting your finger. When people finally realized the can opener’s usefulness, it was likely triggered by the military.
If you have a favorite electric can opener that isn’t working as well, it might just need cleaning. You might be about to throw it away. But wait; Why not try this simple cleaning method? If it works, that’s good. If not, get rid of it.
The chuck gear and the cutting wheel are the two working parts. Wash the food gear with soapy water and use an old toothbrush to remove the remaining food residue. Dry it well. Use a pipe cleaner to clean between parts. To keep them from rusting and 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 working again.