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By Steve Hoefer

The humble can opener might seem like an obvious invention today, but it took 50 years from the tin can’s invention to the very first can opener. Before then a hungry person had to use whatever tools were available, from bayonets to rocks. Over the last 150 years there have been hundreds of attempts to improve and perfect it. Some more successful than others.

Make: Inventions | Can Openers

On this episode of Make: Inventions we go through the creation and construction of three different designs. Then we put them to use to see which — if any — are an improvement on the bayonet or a rock. Along the way we also discover why my workbench now smells like soup.

The original patents for this video are:

See all projects in the series here.

Steve Hoefer

Steve Hoefer is a creative swashbuckler, freelance writer and inventor. He regularly contributes projects to the pages of MAKE and his inventions have appeared internationally on TV, radio, and print. He lives on his family farm in Iowa.


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Comments

  1. asciimation says:

    Thanks, nice film and cool you actually made them from the patents. For cutting steel like that I never have much luck using oxy-acetylene so usually resort to thin (1mm) cut off discs on the angle grinder then finish off with grinding/filing.

    Years ago I used to go shooting with a friend and he once bought some 7.62 x 39 ammo that came in a giant tin can. We pondered for a while the best way to open that one!

    Just a comment on comments. You can’t see how many comments are left on each article in the blog headings now? Kind of makes it hard to see what people are talking about.

    Simon

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