Talk:Can opener

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This description, writ before i looked for the article [blush] may have an element or two that should be folded in:

[Cans are] opened by a cutting the metal, usually with a can opener where a toothed wheel, driven either by hand (often through at least one gear) or by a small electric motor, turns the can relative to the sharp edge of either a point or a wheel.

Tho IMO the P-38 supports its separate article, it deserves a little more than a see-also ref in this one.

More pix of can openers would be good, especially these kinds:

  • the six-inches long one (in the armor cartoon; maybe the cartoon would be an ideal illustration! Do we have a cartoonist willing to do the hand and opener in the foreground, and the armored knight, even if not with his helm open and a look of fear, in the back ground? It would promote the profession by showing what illustrations can do better than photos.) with no moving parts,
  • the can-and-bottle opener on your jackknife, and
  • the kind mounted on the edge of a counter in commercial kitchens (does its design eliminate crevices near the food, like the bearing of the sharp-edged wheel, for the sake of public health?):
    • it's "hand operated", but (in contrast with the "pliers" one shown presently) i mean arm, not fingers: it has a 6-12 inch crank, not an oblong knob that you grasp at both ends and turn like a jar top; you hold a 1- or 2-inch-diameter wheel at one end, and make this wheel revolve around the other end of the crank, flexing your elbow and shoulder joints;
    • instead of often hanging from the can opener, the can sits flat on the counter;
    • the can opener itself is free to slide up and down in a track or bracket mounted on the edge of the counter, and thus to handle cans of any height from a few inches to a foot or so;
    • the sharp edge is just a one edge of a triangular tooth: you have enough leverage that you don't need the rolling of a sharp wheel to reduce the friction.

The gear-and-tooth pliers style would also be worth the space IMO. --Jerzy (t) 03:16, 2005 May 5 (UTC)

Article does not mention bayonet tin openers or top down openers[edit]

A bayonet tin opener is the one where you stab the tin lid near the edge and work around - they are not very common, but they are very robust and do not break. On the other hand they leave an ugly irregular opening. They have no moving parts.

All-metal 'top-down' openers are also common where I live. They cut down into the lid, rather than into the side of the can near the lids. I do not know what name they have. Instead of having a rotating circular blade like more recent openers, they just have a non-moving small 'plough' that splits the metal.

I am aggrevied that I have to keep buying a new can opener every few weeks. In particular, they are often damaged when I try to open those small oblong sardine cans. Reasons why they stop working:

  1. The serated wheel wears down (rapidly) and loses its grip.
  2. If the wheels are held in plastic, the plastic breaks.
  3. For the all-metal top-down openers, the metal things that positions the opener on the side of the lid gets bent when I try to open sardine tins. They also suffer from (1).
  4. The spindle holding the wheels in place comes apart.
  5. Things that should not rotate around the spindles rotate around the spindles.
  6. Things that should rotate around the spindles do not rotate around the spindles.

Even my reliable bayonet opener is starting to get blunt, so stabbing the can has become more difficult.

This is a list of all the different types of tin opener I can remember ever seeing or using:

  1. The most recent type with two spindles, one of which has a gripping wheel and the other a cutting wheel. Usually cuts side of can near the lid.
  2. Older type with only one spindle which has a gripping wheel, with the opening being done by a small 'plough'. Cuts lid of can, as do all those below. Still very common in UK.
  3. Bayonette type - no moving parts. Rarely on sale.
  4. Small folding, referred to in article as the P 81 I think.
  5. Lever type which makes a triangular hole in the lid of the can, suitable for pouring liquids. If many such holes are made around edge of lid, then the lid could be opened. I have not seen one of these in decades.
  6. Flat type apparantly supplied in some penknives. I cannot remember ever opening a tin with one of these, and I am not sure if they actually work.

I would be willing to pay a lot for an opener that lasted for years, not weeks. 01:24, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

I agree, the "most popular" can openers listed in the article are just the most popular among the manufacturers, since they break so often. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:03, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

must be very bad quality then, or you're using them wrong. i have never experienced a canopener (one wheel for grip and the other for cutting the lid) breaking. the only reason to replace them is that they tend to get a bit rusty after 5 or 10 years. (talk) 21:13, 19 December 2010 (UTC)


I believe a "can opener" in ice hockey is when you stick your stick between somebody's legs and trip them. As there is a section for military slang, should this be included as well? Canking (talk) 19:13, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

At most I could see a brief disambig. sentence at the top of the article with a link to some other article. The military section is about military can openers, not about some military slang/jargon phrase "can opener" of a different meaning. Hockey slang doesn't belong in this article any more than alcoholic beverages belong in an article entitled "Screwdriver". - Blueguy (talk) 06:07, 1 October 2009 (UTC)


This article seems biased by the gallery of rotary butterfly openers, as if the can openers often seen in classic cartoons don't exist or something. (talk) 09:48, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Not all side-cutting can openers are alike[edit]

The end of the article mentions side-cutting can openers, but only mentions the kind that cuts into the rim, so as to leave no sharp edges, but there are other can openers which cut just under the rim, cutting the whole lid and its rim off, leaving a sharp edge all around the can, but not the lid. The designs of these look nearly identical to the others, but for a very slight change in blade position. - Blueguy (talk) 06:15, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Side cutting openers are "underesteemed" here. They work cleanly, without a blade or cutter touching can contents. This is (1) hygenically preferable, and (2) it leaves the cutter clean at all times. The operation is well controlled (see the fine transport wheel), no lid "jumps out" splattering content when finally freed. Newer side cutters have a pinch formable by the handles to grab the lid when opened like tweezers, see patent (year 2000) part 70 versus part 72. Technically interesting: the axis of the cutting wheel not to be in parallel to the transport axis, some 15° make the cutter stay "on top" of the rim, like a front car tire trying to get onto the sidewalk but never making it … See (advertizing) video at Youtube OpVrBnDnt74. – Fritz Jörn (talk) 07:52, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

Safety Opener[edit]

Insert this new type - a little strange, but very functional, easy-going and total safe: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:01, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

Link dead, try, but I don’t know which one you refer to? — Fritz Jörn (talk) 18:31, 25 January 2014 (UTC)

Metals used[edit]

Somewhere in this article about Can Openers, there should be a section describing the different metals used, historically, and currently. Different metals used. Descriptions for the different metals. (Example: Dulls faster, rust resistant, etc).— Preceding unsigned comment added by Frankga123 (talkcontribs) 23:58, 23 March 2013‎ (UTC)

Church key photo needed[edit]

None of the images in the "Church key" section represents the classic "church key" bottle opener. The original church key design is made of heavy wire, and a Coca-Cola branded version from Germany can be seen at File:-_Coca-Cola_-_Old_bottle_opener_-.jpg. It superficially resembles an old-style door key and pre-dates by years the combination can piercer/bottle cap opener on which the section dwells excessively. — QuicksilverT @ 21:16, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Swiss army knives[edit]

There should be a brief section on the can openers found on Swiss army knives and multi-tools. I'm not even sure what style of can opener that would be; of the ones on this page, it's probably closest to the P-38, though isn't there another style of one-piece can opener that you work around the rim that's basically the same as on a Swiss army knife? MrBook (talk) 17:16, 4 October 2016 (UTC)

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