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They Invented it

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by Fenella Saunders

The can opener did not come along until many years after the invention of the can. Around 1810 Peter Durand, a British merchant, invented sealed, thick-walled metal storage canisters that had to be busted open with a hammer and chisel or bayonet. In 1858, American inventor Ezra Warner patented an oversized ancestor of the old-fashioned tin opener. It clamped onto the side of the can with a sickle-shaped blade, providing leverage for a second, attached blade to pierce a hole in the top. A crank-operated can opener with a rotating cutting wheel appeared in 1870, invented by William Lyman of Connecticut. In 1925, the Star Can Company of San Francisco improved on Lyman's design by adding a second, serrated wheel to grab the edge of a can. Electric openers were introduced by several manufacturers in 1957. Pull-open cans, patented by Ermal Fraze of Ohio, debuted in 1966.

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