why is a can opener called a church key

Why Is A Can Opener Called A Church Key

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Do you have ever been asked of a Church key and you were blank like why a person is asking you for the key! No worries. If you mistook the Church key as the real one, almost we all are on the same boat. In this article, you are going to learn why is a can opener called a Church Key.

If you are reading this why do we call a can opener the Church key and are unfamiliar with what is an opener and why is a can opener called the Church Key, so opener is a tool which is used to pry open the closed bottles or cans. With so much competition in the world, a company in Canada designed a new style opener in 1900 for opening bottle closures. These best can openers resembled the large keys.

Later on, these key style beer can openers became common. The inhabitants started using it to open steel bar cans.

So aiding drinkers to relieve their thirst, The American company of Cans under the guidance of D.F. Sampson introduced a similar device. These openers had sharp pointed ends.

With the modification of beer bottles to cans, the bottle opener got advanced to can openers and the term Church key was ultimately transferred to the new tool. As quoted:

” Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life”

Bill Cunningham

Church Key origin

  • Church Key is basically an American word used for referring to bottle and can opener.
  • Back to few centuries decades, it was particularly regarded as a beer can opener.
  • The openers used to puncture the glass bottles were made of heavy cast iron.
  • These openers have the same appearance just as the key used by the Europeans to unlock the Church’s door.
  • The ends of the openers have almost the same appearance as the large church keys have for opening doors.
  • Just imagine building a picture of Church key in your mind. How would it look like Church key is the best can opener?
  • However, the term Church key is used as derision. It means that if you try to use a Church key i.e. opener, it means you are opening a beer bottle so you are more likely to miss the Church occasion, therefore, using a Church key can opener you will miss the actual church key to enter the Church.

History of the Church Key can opener

You might find it as a joke to associate a bottle or can opener with the Church key but there lies a history behind it.

  • Church Key term was initially given to a tool used to pry cap closures of glass bottles. This tool was hand-operated just as the keys are in 1892. However, the appearance of these heavy-duty can openers was the same as a large church key weapon.
  • In 1935, new flat top style cans were introduced. The device used to puncture these can’s lid was similar to an antique Church key. These openers were made of a pressed metal material having a pointed end to pierce and puncture the can closures.

If you look at the can opener, you’ll notice that the round end of the opener will look like the ornate handle of antique Church keys which were being used to unlock the Church’s door.

Church Key

But why referred to it as a Church key and not a door or a room key?

It is really a good point to note why these openers are regarded as Church keys and not the normal door or a house key. But the main reason behind it is the historical background.

There had been two theories that rammed a little fun at the holy priest and the ministers.

What are the theories behind the opener’s name?

Theory number 1:

  • The most important fact behind the name is the opener’s appearance itself.
  • The simple designs of the opener introduced for the first time resembled the antique Church key.

Theory number 2:

  • Many of the bear makers and brewers were monks about centuries ago.
  • They used to store their bears in monasteries. So in order to protect these bears, they locked them in large cellars and only they had the keys to the lock.
  • However, it is said that the bottle opener reminds people of those monk’s keys as those keys had the same shape and were used for the same purpose so they started calling the openers as Church Keys.

Theory number 3:

  • However, some still believe that when these openers were devised in 1933 and came to the market, at that time President Franklin Roosevelt had signed the Act of Cullen-Harrison on March 21, 1933.
  • He gave the allowance of selling bears having an alcohol concentration of 3.2%. However, they believe that the drinkers started to take openers as Church keys as in to poke their fingers in the religious group’s matters and eyes.
  • While some people suggest that later on the word Church Key spread quickly nearby as fun and joke.

According to these theories, we get to know why the bottle openers are associated with the Church Keys and not a door or other types of keys. Each of these theories is valid giving us reasons why we should call an opener the Church key.

What is in the name “The Church Key”

The term Church key was first time used in print in 1951. However, it was mentioned before in the late 1930s but became more popular afterward.

  • The beer sold in bottles got a shift to cans.
  • Those old cans were not with pull tabs like those of today’s so they could not be crack opened.
  • There was still a need for an opener to puncture these cans in the same way as the bottles were. A sharp tool was necessary to open it. These can openers had a flat metal strip attached.
  • Earlier people used these openers to puncture cans from both sides allowing beer to freely flow outside.
  • Later the openers manufactured got larger in size. The appearance of the opener’s mouth resembled the handle of a key.
  • The can’s require the Church key can opener were later named crown corks.

Do the Church key and can opener have the same appearance?

  • They resemble somewhat in construction however not exactly the same as the keys are for locking the doors while the openers are for puncturing the closure.
  • However, there has been a historical background associated with calling the can opener as Church Key which has already been mentioned above.

How did the Church key look like?

  • The Church key or you can say an opener has a triangular end being pointed for puncturing.
  •  They are usually made of metal or stainless steel having a metal strip attached to it. They likely resemble an antique Church key used for locking the doors.
  • Even though the new openers designed in the 21st century are not like the Church keys as the old ones used to be but still the term Church key remained.

Do you need an opener or may I call it a Church key

After getting into the detail of why an opener was taken as a Church key, you might be wondering if you need to have it at the house.

It is the most useful tool for prying bottles or cans. No matter wherever you are, you can easily puncture the closures on hand. You would have been surprised how often you have felt the need for an opener and you didn’t have it at the moment.

Where you can get it?

This question seems really interesting. After listing all the details of the opener if you feel the need of getting one Church key for your house too, you might have to rush to the internet to search for the best opener and from where to get it.

  • It is better if you go for a classic shape opener. Classic bottle openers are what people wish to get when they think of openers. It has a standard attractive thumb like design to pop up on the glass bottles or cans. You can not go wrong while choosing this opener.
  • Selecting a small bottle opener particularly of credit card size is also not a bad option. You can save it in your wallet in the credit card slot and would never run out of the opener.
  • The more interesting thing is that you can even go for a customized opener. You can create unique designs or text on your openers making it attractive and eye catching to the people at the occasion.
  • You can get your opener quoted as “To have and hold dear, And to open your beer.”

Does Church Key not sounds funny?

Yes, it does. Whenever we say or hear Church key we always get into a picture of a key in our mind instead of an opener. The Church key sounds like a joke as drinking beer is not a church tradition or rule. Calling out the Church key to your opener was a method of poking jokes and fun at the situation.

Bottom Line

Now if anyone asks you for a Church key, you would definitely get to what he is actually asking for. You would now definitely not mistake it as the actual key.

The theories mentioned earlier explain in detail why the can openers came to be known as the Church key.

To get a new church key or an opener, whatever you call it, look for the best one.

2 thoughts on “Why Is A Can Opener Called A Church Key”

  1. Pingback: Why Are Pickle Jars So Hard To Open | Expert Answers

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