A: While the mental_floss staff is still working 'round the clock to figure out that blasted chicken/egg question, this one we can definitely answer. In 1810, a British merchant named Peter Durand patented the tin can, making it possible for sterilized food to be preserved more effectively than was possible with breakable containers. The cans were especially useful for long ocean voyages, where glass bottles were prone to breakage, and soon the British Navy was dining on canned veggies and meat.
So far, so good. But what Durand (and everybody else for that matter) forgot to invent was a way to open the cans. For almost 50 years, getting into your pork ‘n’ beans actually required the use of a hammer and chisel. In fact, the first can opener was patented by American inventor Ezra Warner in 1858, but even that wasn’t particularly convenient. These early openers were stationed at the grocery store, and clerks did the honors. It wasn’t until 1870 that the first home can openers made an appearance.