1. First, there was a problem of how to keep food from spoiling? In 1795, Napoleon Bonaparte offered a significant prize “for anyone who invented a preservation method that would allow his army’s food to remain unspoiled during its long journey to the troops’ stomachs”
Food Spoilage is a process in which food deteriorates and cannot be consumed by humans or its quality of edibility becomes less. Various external forces are responsible for the spoilage of food. Bacteria is one of them.
So In 1809, Nicholas Appert invented a process for preserving food in glass bottles by filling them with water to kill the bacteria. He was awarded 12 000 francs by the French government for his invention. In 1810 Appert also wrote a book L’art de Conserver about his invention
.2. But with this solution came a problem that Bottles as they were made of glass break easily.
So Peter Durand (London) devised a sealed tin container as a solution
Canning was a big invention, especially for supplying food for soldiers and sailors because they needed to keep the food stored for long durations. But early cans were not as they are used to be today. The cans were sometimes heavier than the food they held as they were made of wrought iron and lined with tin.
3. Here came another problem that how to open the sealed tin container. Soldiers used knives, bayonets, and even rifle fire!
A tin of roast veal carried on one of William Parry’s Arctic expeditions bore the instruction, “Cut round on the top near the outer edge with a chisel and hammer.” Also, there was the weight problem, the cans were 3/16” thick and weighed a pound even when it was empty!
And it took more than 40 years before someone figured out an easy way to get the food out of the cans once it was inside.
4. Another solution came to Use steel in place of tin for making the container because steel was stronger and thinner, and also for opening them some specialized tools were created.
In 1858 Ezra Warner developed and got a patent for a can opener that was described as “Part bayonet, part sickle with a large curved blade.”
He explained in the patent
“The advantages of my improvement over all other instruments for this purpose consist in the smoothness and rapidity of the cut, as well as the ease with which it is worked, as a child may use it without difficulty, or risk, and in making the curved cutter susceptible of being removed, so that if one should be injured it may be replaced by another, thus saving all the other portions of the instrument, and consequently much expense, and in that the piercer will perforate the tin without causing the liquid to fly out, as it does in all those which make the perforation by percussion of any kind.”
5. In 1870 William Lyman (Connecticut) invented another solution and patented a can opener with the wheel that revolved around a center hole punched in the can. And this can opener was widely used in homes.
Now there was another problem that Lyman’s can opener had to be adjusted for each can size and the punching of the center hole had to be exact.
6. So the solution was Modern style can opener and it was patented in 1925. The classic toothed-wheel crank design that we know and use today came around in the 1920s, That invention, by Charles Arthur Bunker, remains the can opener standard to this day.
7.Some other problems that remained to be solved that Thin cans lacked stiffness and buckled. Solutions for it were a rim at top and bottom and Corrugate the sides.
8. After this, another problem came that Beverage cans opened with can openers had jagged edges and too big an opening!
9. So the solution came as The “Church Key” can opener. And now there was another problem that It kept getting lost or you didn’t have it with you when you needed it!
10. So it was improved as Cans with discard-able pull tabs, called pop tops.
Now What to do with pull tabs after removal?
Discard them, well it results in Littering
Make chains- Artistic?
Drop them in the can, well it could be Dangerous
So the solution was Pop tops that stay attached to the can.
Here was another problem that Some people with long fingernails or weak, arthritic fingers cannot open them!