Q:  I’ve seen several of these can openers in the past, but they were always made in three pieces, with the main body and a replaceable blade held together by some type of bolt, screw or fastener. This is a solid piece with no screw on the side for blade replacement. When I used a magnet on the metal, the body had a lower attraction to the magnet than the blade. The blade might be steel. Can you tell me anything about it? 

A:  The bull’s head can opener is a type of claw-shaped opener. The first patent for a claw-shaped can opener was granted to Robert Yates of Middlesex, England, in 1855. Ezra J. Warner of Waterbury, Connecticut, was granted the first U.S. patent for a claw-shaped can opener in 1858. Bull’s head can openers were made beginning in the 1860s. They originally came with tins of “Bully Beef” (corned beef). The pointed spike on the top of the opener was used to puncture the top of the tin, and then the blade was used to cut the top off. Can openers with bull’s heads and a tail that wrapped around to form the handle were made from the 1860s to the 1930s. We’ve seen one-piece bull’s head can openers without a screw to hold the blade offered for sale for $10 to $50.

bull's head can opener

 

 

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