The Last Can Opener

I have a large collection of canned goods in a storage room and I decided to get a good manual can opener in case a string of hurricanes decide to come through my neighborhood like they did a few years ago. Or maybe if a prolonged period of civil unrest should pop up and the stores are all looted.

So I went down to my nearest hardware store and looked around. There was only one can opener on the wall and I checked it out. The name is Swing-A-Way, the only one left on the shelve. It looked sturdy with white comfortable plastic grips. I took it home and tried it out. The initial cut was like slicing into butter. It was smooth, with little effort on my part. I opened two more cans with the same result. It was beautiful, the gold standard of can openers. I decided to get six more.

I shopped around and found another store that just got in a supply of Swing-A-Ways, same model. I bought one and took it home for a try out. It felt different. I tried the first can and it took more pressure to break through the lid. After a few turns it stopped. It would not budge. I took it out and started again. Same results. With two different tries I got the same results, two cans with three sections, less than an inch each, unopened.

I examined both can openers carefully although they looked identical. The only printing on the opener was the name and some words underneath. Under the Swing-A-Way were the words “made in USA”. Then I checked the other word that was underneath the false Swing-A-Way. It was, in small letters, “China.”

Yes, I got really mad. Corporations moved their factories to hire cheap labor in China and other third world countries while they make shoddy, even dangerous products to ship to America. Remember the cough medicine and toothpaste  from China that was loaded with antifreeze and killed hundreds in Central America. Or the animal food that was contaminated with poison that killed pets, and chickens that we eat.  The U.S. government doesn’t check imports because they’re underfunded and they plan to turn inspection over to private corporations from Mexico, Canada and the U.S. (Fox in the hen house.)

OK. Back to the can opener.

I went on line and the reviews depended on when they were made. The ones made before the company was sold got glowing praises but those after the original Swing-A-Way company was sold, not so good.

An example:

Dendo- “This may have been a good product in the past, but it’s inferior now. It failed to open the first three cans I attempted to open. The blade appears to seat properly at first, but then it rides up on the lip of the can, and so, there are sections of the lid that have not been scored and penetrated by the blade. I’m returning this one and going for the Zyliss…”


“Here’s the scoop on the ‘made in China’ discussion regarding Swing-A-Way can openers. I called the AMCO Company last week and was told that since approximately 2008-2009 all their Swing-A-Way can openers are made in China. Seems the original company may have changed hands a couple of times through the years and those brands we could rely on, and were American made, are no longer around. After spending quite a bit of time on the Internet searching, it appears that none of the other home can openers are made in the USA either. I called OXO and one other company as well, and the story was the same, all made in China…” (The writer is going to try and clean some old Swing-A-Ways he has “and see if they will continue on for a few more years.”

Something as insignificant as a can opener can tell you that civilization as we know it will soon cease to exist. Meanwhile, if anyone out there can find me a quality can opener, I would greatly appreciate it. These things will sell for a pound of gold when the electricity goes out. Email this site, if you have an answer. I will publish the best results if there are any.

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