Friday, August 6, 2010
A lowly can opener. Hardly. This is one of my all-time favorite tools. I say that because it is simple and does its job perfectly. I use it to open paint and finish cans. But wait, there's more. You probably noticed some writing on the business end of this beauty as I did. What you find there is the manufacturers name and a Patent date. The Patent date is Nov. 7, 1933.
I am sure that there is no need to tell you this, but there is actually a Google Patents site. This site is Shangri-La for tool geeks. The place where you can really get far more than you would ever need to know about any patented tool. Ahhh, nirvana. Punching in the Patent date delivers me the details of U.S. Patent No. 1934594, Container Opener by Henry J. Edlund, Burlington, Vermont. This dude was obviously way ahead of his time. Check out the drawing below and see all it can do.
Not too long ago I lost my can opening sidekick and was rather distraught about the whole thing. I was doing a job at the local library and after I got home that evening I found that it had gone missing. I enlisted my friend Lucy, the library director to help me track it down. It was no use. It was gone. I still suspect the library maintenance man, as i did notice him lusting over it while I worked that day.
However, all hope was not lost. After searching eBay for months, one turned up. And if I have to open cans on a job site in the future, I'm using a screwdriver.