Can Openers- Landis Valley Village, PA

Photographed by Lancaster Online

Excerpt- In America, President James Monroe in 1825 assigned a patent to this country’s first food canners. Events such as Arctic expeditions and the California Gold Rush provided special impetus and attention to the technology for safely preserving food in cans that could survive both rugged treatment and a length of time without spoilage. With the ability to seal food in cans came the need to open those cans and free the contents for consumption. Starting in the 1800s, inventors have developed a wide array of can openers.

As the use of canned foods increased, especially during the civil war, the style and functionality of openers changed over time. Above are an array of lever-type can openers, which were popular through the mid 19th century. To make openers  safer for domestic use, a protective piece was placed over the blade (similar to the second from the right). Can opener functionality improved in the 1870’s with the use of a rotating wheel.

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