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Thread: Geezers, Church Keys and Pull Top Cans

  1. #1

    Default Geezers, Church Keys and Pull Top Cans

    Discussions about being a geezer should mention different degrees of geezerdom.
    From what I can tell, if you saw the introduction of flattop sealed cans of beer (1935) and learned to open these with a "church key", then you are a really old geezer.

    If you began using pull top cans for Iron City or Schlitz beer when these first came out (1962 or 1963), then you can claim to be a distinguished geezer.

    I understand that a Churchkey Brewing Company is now manufacturing beer in flattop cans that you open with the famous "church key", so that old geezers (or yuppies who want to appear cool) can carry church keys and pull them out when they need refreshment.


  2. #2
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    If you were really cool...you carried a church key to punch a "air hole" opposite the pull tab hole......cut down on burps.

    Sooo, I gonna guess you don't carry a church key on your key ring?

    Are you taking Geezer lessons?....Do you want to...?...How much are you willing to pay...?
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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    It was always claimed that the 7th Infantry division insignia was based on a beer can opened using a church key.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7th_In...7th_ID_SSI.svg

    I am old enough to remember cans that required the CK and bottles that required an opener, and all the tricks we learned to get to the contents when we had neither on hand.

    I also remember the church key being a big part of the survival kit "back in the day". It could be used as a fishing lure, flattened out and used as a spear point, abraded against a rock and turned into an improvised knife.

    Back in the day the term 'Be prepared" meant having more on you than a credit card. Even after you bought the goods you had to have tools for access. In todays world you pop the top an toss it, then pop it into the microwave. The sissyfacation of our culture is nearly complete.

    I blame it on the MRE. When a GI complains because a can is difficult to open and he has to eat his bennie-weinies cold, and the higher ups actually listen to his dribble, the end is near.

    The handy Boy Scout Knife covered getting into cans and bottles of all types. with that one item you could open the can of food and the bottle of beverage and whittle a spoon to eat the contents of the can. Then bore a hole in the handle of the spoon with the awl and hang it from your shirt button. Of course you washed out both the food and beverage cans for use as cooking utensils latter.
    Last edited by kyratshooter; 04-15-2016 at 01:44 PM.
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  4. #4

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    I hate to admit it, but when pull tabs came out I was too young and too closely supervised to do much experimentation. After I left home, most beverages came in bottles with caps - I learned numerous tricks with screwdriver tips, coins, table top edges and other items to
    pop those off. Fortunately, I was smart enough to not try using my teeth.

    Now, I am older and doubtfully wiser, so I always have my Swiss Army Knife on my belt. It has the bottle top lifter and can opener that I can use. My key chain has my GI style can opener that will serve a lot of purposes. If necessary, I think I can still open a can of tinned fish or corned beef with the tip of a machete - useful skill to have.

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Oh, yeah. Still have my Pabst opener. The door lock of most cars served as a great bottle opener. So did any wooden bench. My 52 and 64 chevy both had enough room under the hood to store a couple of six packs when it was cold. Didn't have to worry about icing our beer. We had an ice house in town where you could purchase block or crushed. Then they got fancy and put in a self serve coin box.

  6. #6

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    In the 70s church keys were used mostly for shotgunning beer.
    Schmidts Tall Boys were a favorite when the braggin' turned into a challenge. Only saw a few empty one without involuntarily emptying it backwards. If you know what I mean.
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  7. #7

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    www.churchkey.com/home.html is apparently a website about beer made with the flattop cans. If you are a really cool hipster and purchase a six pack, I think you will be given a free can opener
    Last edited by Faiaoga; 04-15-2016 at 04:12 PM.

  8. #8

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    According to some internet sources, "Church Key" by The Revels was a 1960 song. I suppose I was too young or too nerdy to be aware of it, though I knew that the cool kids opened beer cans with this implement.

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    Are you kidding? We don't have to purchase a six pack. We're all totin' a six pack...somewhere....in there....well protected.

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    Lol i'm nowhere near geezer but I've always called bottle openers a church key. I will say that recently one of my employees bought a Mexican coca cola and forgot to have the clerk open it. About 3 people were looking around for a device to open it, I always carry a multi tool and someone asked me if I could open it. They looked at me like I was Fonzi when I put the cap on the edge of the counter and popped it off. lol

  11. #11

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    People are probably already aware that there are many internet videos and sites about how to open cans and bottles without the proper tools, http://www.wikihow.com/Open-a-Bottle...-Bottle-Opener show 10 of these tricks, tricks that seem to work.

    Only in the USA will a person carry a $300 laptop and look around for wireless connections as a substitute for carrying a pocketknife or bottle cap lifter.

  12. #12
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faiaoga View Post
    People are probably already aware that there are many internet videos and sites about how to open cans and bottles without the proper tools, http://www.wikihow.com/Open-a-Bottle...-Bottle-Opener show 10 of these tricks, tricks that seem to work.

    Only in the USA will a person carry a $300 laptop and look around for wireless connections as a substitute for carrying a pocketknife or bottle cap lifter.
    Or a $600 buck cell phone.......Bhohahahahaha....NO SHIP!
    You nailed it there Buddy....
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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    No Faiaoga its not just in the USA.

    Tom Sawyer is DEAD!

    In Great Britain they need a valid excuse for carrying a Boy Scout Knife on a daily basis and the same is true for much of Europe.

    Our current "zero tolerance" culture makes carrying a multi purpose pocket knife something that can get you tossed out of school, cost you your job or cause legal hardship at random checkpoints many people have to pass through daily.

    I am really thankful I do not work in the court house, a federal building or public transport center with metal detection. I would spend half my time emptying my pockets and being scanned.

    We have been conditioned to not have any "tools" on our person, or having to explain their presence as if we are criminals, and therefore relying on the pull tab, pop-top, peel back or tear it open with out teeth mechanisms. We are conditioned out of carrying anything but a pen, the wallet full of plastic and the mandatory phone. And the phone is often mandatory! Work now expects 24/7 communication access with every worker.

    So not having a bottle opener but having a lap top or smart phone is not really a failing, it is following the rules that now govern real life.

    Even some of the members here have one life at home and another at work where the restrictions prevent us from having the equipment we feel necessary for our safety.

    And the culture is supporting the trend. Taking out an SAK to open a package will bring gasps in many offices and the direct question about "who do you intend to attack?", "What are you expecting?" and often a more firm "Why do you have that thing, I though knives were illegal?".

    What was the normal personal pocket gear when I was in my teens is now considered near criminal behavior. And there is a thriving market for office equipment that replaces the lowly pocket knife with all kinds of gadgets for cutting tape, string and thread.

    Then there is the other side of this thread!

    When was the last time any of us saw a beverage can or bottle that needed a tool for access?

    Soda and beer bottles have been "twist off" for 40 years now, not 4 months. Just like the cans that have been through two cycles of invention. When was the last time you saw a pop top tab lying on the ground? That technology has been gone for 30 years, replaced by the retained tab.

    I have more concern for the quality of the screwdriver feature of the "bottle opener" on the BSK or SAK than how it opens bottles! I do not even care it the tool has a bottle opener, since it is never used. I am much more concerned about the can opener and how well that works and if its tip is proper for use on Philips head screws.
    Last edited by kyratshooter; 04-16-2016 at 04:12 PM.
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    Wow, didn't realize the culture shift regarding pocket knives in the U.S.. Our knife laws are pretty lax here in Canada, no "switchblades" and no "butterfly knives" but that's about it. I've always got a pouch on my belt that has either a multi tool or a folding knife in it. Even my wife carries a SAK in her purse. Kids aren't allowed to bring them to school but when my son accidently took one when he was in grade 2 (forgot it was in his coat pocket) he told the teacher and she took it and gave it back to him at the end of the day. I know some European countries have issues around blade length, locking mechanisms etc. but is there any of that in the U.S.?

  15. #15

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    Canada is not as "civilized" as the United States. In many parts of the USA, all interactions between people must be documented, notarized and photographed by several witnesses. We also threaten to sue anyone and everyone for any supposed violation of anything, then we watch television and play video games that glorify every kind of violence and horror possible. Canada needs to catch up.

    I have never visited Canada, but the Canadians I have met seem decent, tolerant and polite. Perhaps your Mr. Trudeau can give us some lessons
    Last edited by Faiaoga; 04-16-2016 at 06:13 PM.

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    You really don't care much for the United States do you? At least that seems to be a common thread in many of your posts.
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    The problem with the USA is too dang many are undocumented...if you know what I mean.

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    Kyrat, there are still plenty of non-twist off beer bottles sold in the US today. Heineken, Stella Artois, and just about every other good tasting beer. LOL

    At 48 I am not quite as old of some of you geezers. For instance I didn't have to kick no dirt off of myself to get up to post this.

    But, I remember needing a church key for juice cans and tomato juice. Plenty of pull top cans before the safety cans came out.

    When I first started drinking beer, we bought a case of Bud long necks in a waxed box. They weren't twist off back then and were made of thicker glass then the short neck bottles. It cost 9.99 and included 2.40 deposit for the bottles and a free bag of ice. We would dump the ice in the waxed box and that was our cooler. We had all different ways to open a bottle without a bottle opener. Most carried a bottle opener on their keys. But, a wood bench worked fine. I did break a couple of tops off though. I use a Bic to open the bottles.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by crashdive123 View Post
    You really don't care much for the United States do you? At least that seems to be a common thread in many of your posts.

    I am not quite sure why you should say this, sir, but you are entitled to your opinion and I will not try to change it. I am an American, born in the USA, and proud of my country. My country, the one I am proud of, is one that allows many different peoples to live together and to respect different beliefs and cultures. I have nothing else to say on the topic.

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