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A tin can is an air-tight container which is used to store all kinds of different foods, including vegetables, fruits, soups and deserts. The can was invented in 1810 by an Englishman, Peter Durand. At first, opening a tin needed a lot of skill, using knives, chisels or even rocks. It was not until 1858, when Ezra Warner invented the can opener, that this task became easier.

What is a can opener?

A can opener is a tool which helps us to open cans. It is made up of three different simple machines: the wheel and axle, the lever and the wedge. The two long arms that clamp onto the can are levers. The handle which is used to rotate the can is a wheel and axle. And finally, the circular wheel that cuts into the can is a wedge. Have you tried to use a can opener before? It requires a lot of concentration because the serrated (uneven) edges of the circular wheel are very sharp and can produce quite deep cuts.

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How does a can opener work?

When using a can opener, the first step is to attach the two arms to the can. This can be done by bringing the arms in contact with the can and then firmly squeezing them together. Once the arms are fitted to the can, we then start turning the handle. Turning the handle rotates the circular wheel which cuts into the can. After turning the wheel for a few seconds, the circular wheel works its way around the rim of the can, piercing the seal. Opening a can properly can take a little bit of practice.

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Electric can openers

While most people use manual can openers, like the one described above, there are also electric can openers. These were invented in the 1960s and are powered by an electric motor, which turns itself off after the can has been opened.

Chapters: Can openers Crutches Brushes Spades Tyre levers


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