363 Boston Post Road Madison, CT 06443 United States 203.393.9356
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Figural Can Opener

Origin United States
Period 1900-1919
Materials Cast and formed metal. Mounted on an early if not original wooden base.
H. 12 in;
H. 30.48 cm;
Condition Excellent.
Creation Date Circa 1900
Description American. Anonymous maker. Circa 1900.

This full-figured bust is perhaps John L. Sullivan, the most celebrated boxer of his day. One would think that the unknown maker is sending the message about the power of this opener “punching” into your tin can. The back section has another blade to open lower flat cans. Decorated with hearts and stars. The raised letters on the handle are “AT APL FOR” (patent applied for).

I know it’s just a can opener, yet it represents a time in American history when industrial expansion and entrepreneurial behavior became the backbone of America’s growth. With the inception of the tin can, which by 1900 was reaching every hamlet in America, a need arose to open those cans. Inventors were issued thousands of patents for can openers, each thinking theirs was yet an improvement and would be financially successful.
Styles / Movements Americana, Folk Art, Traditional
Incollect Reference Number 188739
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