Innovations and trends that shaped your ancestor's life. In this issue: the can opener.
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the first commercial production of canned food. Our ancestors who were hungry to sample the contents of those cans, however, had to wait almost half a century for a convenient way to open them.
Peter Durand, the British merchant who first patented the idea of preserving food in cans in 1810, showed surprisingly little interest in how consumers could extract the contents of those cans. Early opening instructions read simply, “Cut round the top near the outer edge with a chisel and hammer.”