Do Kids Today Know This? The Can Opener

Yes, this post series, which will hopefully get additions from my fellow authors, is something of an homage to my “John Smith” book. It is knowledge we have noticed Millenials don’t seem to have and will be needed “in the bunker.” Not so much the Doomsday Prepper type of bunker as you without the Internet. At some point in the not too distant future we will return to a time without the Internet. It will be a global thing and it will last for many days if not years.

Viruses are getting so sophisticated and people have been too stupid to dump Windows along with other x86 based operating systems, so, it is just a matter of time before one so insidious takes down the entire net, even if they didn’t intend to. For those of you who disbelieve that statement I tell you to read up on the Morris Worm. The stated intention was to measure the true size of the Internet, but things went horribly wrong.

We got onto (okay, I started) a discussion about what kids don’t know today and believe it or not, the general consensus is most of you don’t know how to operate a can opener. Some of you don’t even know what one is.

old fashioned can opener image

Old Fashioned Can Opener

Seriously, how many of you have even seen a can opener like that? They used to be in every household in America. It was the only way to open your baked beans or a bottle of beer. For those of you who haven’t guessed, the short hook on the other side is what you used for beer. No, electric can openers weren’t common. As recently as The Great Depression in the 1920s many/most homes did not have indoor plumbing or electricity. This is most certainly true of homes which weren’t in major cities.

Long before we had NATO or the United Nations, militaries of “modern” nations buried their ammunition around bases. They also buried food. If the base was ever overrun it would take their adversaries countless hours of digging to find all of the resources. Once canning technology had evolved to the point of having metal cans, boxes of small arms ammunition were canned and had a can opener attached.

Ammo can with opener image

Ammo can with opener

If you were under attack and out of bullets, you had to know how to operate the cheap little can opener stuck to the top. A smart soldier also saved the opener because it could be used to open C-rations (baked beans?) and SPAM. Thankfully someone has already posted a video of how to use this type of opener.

By the time I was a wee lad this was the can opener in every home.

hand can opener image

Hand Can Opener

 

 

 

 

Do you know why the crank was really added? Convenience? Not really. It was added so you didn’t have to keep the blade sharp. Those old fashioned lift cutters required you to sharpen the blade periodically. These little cranks with their tooth gear on the other side could drag incredibly dull metal blades through the most stubborn of canned goods. As I recall, the originally sold for under $2. (Keep in mind minimum wage was around $3.25/hour in most places so they still cost you almost an hour of labor.)

Today you have fancy can openers like this one.

fancy can opener image

Fancy Can Opener

But how many of you can actually operate the thing?

Maybe you don’t believe the Internet will ever go down, so be it. When the next major black out happens, like happened in 2003, if you have a hand can opener and a gas stove you can use a match to heat up a can of soup while everyone else goes hungry.

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