Edlund Can Opener


Can-Do: How Edlund Became Tops In Can Opener Manufacturing

From military use to the NYC kitchen, Vermont’s Edlund can openers are the industry standard thanks to dependability and strength.

November 21, 2022     3 minute read

Less flashy than a good chef’s knife and not nearly as obsessed over as cast iron cookware, can openers are often the forgotten kitchen essential. But across the food service industry, whether that’s a restaurant, school, hospital, hotel, or small eatery, having a reliable, commercial-grade can opener is the only way to crack into crucial canned ingredients. 

And with the volume seen by NYC restaurants, there’s really only one can opener manufacturer that matters—it’s Edlund. 

The industry leader in commercial can opening since 1925, Edlund was founded by Swedish inventor H.J. Edlund in Burlington, VT. Mainly used in schools and prisons during the early days of the company, Edlund’s can openers answered the call for an efficient system of opening cans in a commercial setting. The product was so popular that it quickly became the industry standard for restaurants. 

Edlund’s Old Reliable Can Openers

The “old reliable” label is sometimes used in a tongue-in-cheek manner—more about age than actual reliability. But with Edlund’s can openers, Old Reliable is an official moniker. The tag refers to Edlund’s collection of heavy-duty can openers that can be attached to workstations inside of restaurant kitchens. 

These can openers are designed for low- to heavy-volume businesses and have durable constructions. And it's the strength of construction and overall reliability that has garnered the tool’s stellar reputation. 

How the Edlund #1 Became Industry Standard

The road to “No. 1 in the industry” began in Burlington, VT, in 1925. Family patriarch H.J. Edlund, with help from his two sons and others, designed and manufactured a heavy duty, commercial can opener meant for high-volume jobs. It was deployed in hotels, hospitals, military installations, and on ships embarking on long stays at sea. 

According to a 1952 article in Vermont Life (“The Edlunds of Vermont”), “The company fabricates its can openers, egg beaters, and other products from the raw material … cold rolled steel and heavy metal casing. From the basement of the 100-year-old building where they plate the cast bases of the openers, up to the third floor where they assemble the final product and box it, every operation (and this includes heat treatment) is accomplished by efficient local help.”

In short, Edlund can openers—from the very beginning through today—are made to last by people who care about the quality of their community’s namesake brand. 

That same article notes that Edlund out-sold the competition 3-to-1 in the company’s early days and the flagship product, the “Edlund #1” can opener, would go on to become the industry standard across multiple industries—wherever a high-volume of cans needed opening. 

The Edlund #1 Today

The modern Edlund #1 maintains the integrity of its predecessors, built with solid material that won’t crack under the pressure of a busy NYC restaurant. Restaurant owners and kitchen operators across the foodservice industry heap praise on Edlund can openers for four main reasons:

Maximum Versatility

Restaurant kitchens work with cans of all diameters, so having a can opener that accommodates all sizes is a must. Edlund can openers are the peak of versatility, opening any can that comes across your work station. It’s the only can opener you will ever need. 

Unmatched Durability

Edlund has barely changed its manufacturing process over the last 100 years. As such, they are built to last. Edlund comes with a sturdy, plated steel base, mounting easily to any countertop. The unit is also rust resistant, and calibrated to deliver a smooth, comfortable spinning action. 

Smooth Operation

The plastic bushing ensures the unit requires less turning force than other can openers. This means opening cans will seamlessly match the fast pace of your restaurant kitchen. An Edlund can opener will open about 4-to-6 cans per minute—try that with a standard hand-crank can opener!

Smart Design

The Edlund #1 features a double-sided knife, giving the unit two cutting surfaces. So, when one side begins to dull, you can easily flip the knife around and get back to work. This unique feature not only saves time, but also money, as it reduces replacement costs.


Edlund provides a wide selection of can opener options for all types of foodservice settings. Connect with your Sam Tell sales rep to outfit your kitchen with this essential tool!

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