Cans and Can Openers
Cans were opened with a chisel and hammer before the advent of can openers. The tin can, was invented in 1810 by a Londoner, Peter Durand. The year before, French confectioner, Nicolas Appert, had introduced the method of canning food as it became known by sealing the food tightly inside a glass bottle or jar and then heating it. He could not explain why the food stayed fresh but his bright idea won him the 12,000-francs prize that Napoleon offered in 1795 for preserving food. Durand supplied the Royal Navy with canned heat-preserved food while Appert would help Napoleon’s army march on its stomach. Tin canning was not widely adopted until 1846, when a method was invented to increase can production from 6 in an hour to 60. Still, there were no can openers yet and the products labels would read: “Cut around on the top near to outer edge with a hammer and chisel”.