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Cookware

I bought an EZ-DUZ-IT can opener

MaximRecoil | Oct 11, 201609:30 AM     12

I recently found out that the classic American Amco Swing-A-Way can opener is now made in China, and has been since 2008. Usually that's the end of a story like this, and the only way you can find the genuine article is to find an old one somewhere. But in this case, something interesting happened in 2011. The John J. Steuby Co. out of Hazelwood, Missouri was the actual manufacturer of Swing-A-Way can openers for Amco, for nearly 50 years. So they decided to just start making them again, and instead of stamping "Swing-A-Way" on them, they are stamping their own brand on them: "EZ-DUZ-IT". So, ironically, if you buy a new can opener marked "Swing-A-Way" you get an official Chinese knockoff, and if you buy one marked "EZ-DUZ-IT" you get the unofficial real thing.

I bought my made-in-the-USA Swing-A-Way in the mid or late '90s, and after ~20 years of frequent usage, it still works fine (every so often I clean it thoroughly with Bar Keepers Friend and lubricate the mechanism with PAM cooking spray, which works wonders). That's because the gears and cutter are made of high-carbon, hardened tool steel; the cutter doesn't get dull and the gears don't destroy themselves like on cheap Chinese can openers.

In any case, I decided to buy one to see how it compared to my old Swing-A-Way. I gave it the ultimate test, which is to open a can in the air (i.e., without supporting the can on a table). If it doesn't slip off the rim of the can and/or leave any piece of the lid uncut then it is working perfectly, and this EZ-DUZ-IT is working perfectly.

There are some differences. The Swing-A-Way weighs 9.026 oz. while the EZ-DUZ-IT weighs 10.185 oz. The extra weight comes from the thicker rubber grips, taller dimensions of the lower of the two hinged sections (the section that has the bottle opener on it), and the longer turning-handle (3.327" vs. 3.58"). The longer turning-handle gives increased leverage, so that's a good thing. Both of them are made from chrome-plated 14-gauge sheet steel (0.076" thick), and the mechanisms are identical (same 11:14 gear reduction ratio, same diameter serrated wheel with same number of serrations, and same diameter cutting wheel).

The are some other differences too; very minor, which can be seen in the pictures.

I'm keeping this new EZ-DUZ-IT wiped down with PAM cooking spray from day one, and I'm going to keep it away from water as much as possible, so maybe I can keep the rust at bay for a long time (Edit: I just checked the ingredients of PAM and it contains water; I think I'll just use plain vegetable oil instead). I still wish they would make an all-stainless steel one.

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