Ring-pull cans

It’s the little things that annoy us. We don’t wake up in the morning and muddle our way through the day absorbed in thoughts about the galaxy, for example, unless we are astronomers.

Fascinating as our universe may be, it doesn’t figure prominently in everyday life concerns.

Ring-pull cans do, however.

We are confronted with them more and more often as the respectable can opener is relegated to the retro drawer in our, “just in case I need it, cupboard”. We all have one of those cupboards full of discarded gadgets which will mystify future archeologists.

There will one day be displays of can openers in little boutiques selling nostalgia. Trendy young people will buy them for that special corner in their futuristic kitchens and place them alongside the antique breadmaker and the barrista-endorsed coffee contraption. I wouldn’t be surprised if trusty can openers made an appearance on The Antiques Roadshow.

The retro boutiques will not get my can opener, however, because I’m fed up with the proliferation of ring-pull cans that don’t work. The problem with ring-pulls is that one can’t get a grip on the ring without breaking a finger nail or bruising an index finger. Should one succeed in grasping the ring then it more often than not breaks off in your hand and you are left holding the can and wondering what to do next.

Granted that ring-pulls work quite well with very light aluminium drink cans, they are hopeless with small cans of salmon or tuna which one can’t grasp properly. There is simply nothing to hold on to. The result is a partially opened can which spills its contents all over the bench and which can’t be opened any further by the reliable can opener because bits of metal are jutting out all over the place.

The problem is exacerbated should one buy a can of food from one of those developing European nations in the former Yugoslavia who use parts of unexploded land mines to construct their cans. I’m sure they learned their tricks from pulling hand grenades, but that is hard work for me and besides, I’m afraid of getting tetanus.

The original ring-pulls were a great idea. Apparently, a man from Daytona, Ohio in the U.S was having a picnic one day in 1959 and decided that it was a nuisance having to cart around one of those piercing openers for his beer can. So he went home and invented the ring-pull tab. The invention was amazing as was his name, Ermal Cleon Fraze.

If you want to read more about ring-pull drink cans then I recommend this site: rusty cans

Had the ring-pulls been limited to cans that are light and have enough of a base to grip and then pull, there would have been no problem. But like many good ideas, the ring-pull has been applied to unsuitable containers, so much so that a new gadget has had to be invented.

It is made of plastic and is called the Ring Pull Can Opener. The problem with it is that one has to be able to lift the ring in order to be able to insert the hook part of the opener and then pull hard using leverage. Those rings are stiff and one has to use a knife to lift up the ring to then insert the plastic gadget.

Which begs the question:- If you have to resort to one of those plastic aids, then why not use an original can opener?


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