How Does This Thing Work?

Melissa SandfortAgricultural Anthropology

Item #48 on our wedding registry: automatic can opener, a.k.a. item #8 that still sits on the pantry shelf and has never been used. I guess I shouldn’t say never. I think my husband used it once or twice.

Raise your hand if you still use the old-fashioned kind where you have to manually turn the knob. I know, there are hundreds of people out there who complain of wrist pain and arthritis and are looking for a scapegoat, but from the show of hands, I’d say technology may not have won this one.

This is a photo of an old bottle cap lifter and can opener from my grandmother’s collection of antiques. Her mother and grandmother both used it, and to give you an idea, her grandmother was born in 1860 and married at the age of 31. I’m thinking she was using the bottle opener then. In 1891, I doubt they worried about smooth edges on the lid.

So, item #48 will remain on the shelf. Maybe my son will write about it as “one of mom’s antiques” some day.

Until our next history lesson …