Church Key
Harley
During a search for the origin of the phrase "church key", I found a reference to an earlier question here by one of your forum members. I thought I'd pass along what I had found, which appears to be the original source. I edited out some sentences that were not related to the topic for brevity. ( that's where the "..." is).

Harley
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In the Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins by William and Mary Morris, they explain the term "Church Key" as follows:

"When I passed on through my newspaper column a question from a Maryland reader about why "the tool that punches a triangular hole in a beer can is called a church key,"... I had an explanation from - where else? - Milwaukee, the beer capital of the world.... Mr. J. R. Oberhofer, an old-time brewery worker, pointed out that the expression church key is much older than the device that leaves a triangular hole in beer cans. Indeed, it goes back to early days of the brewing business, when beer was first dispensed in bottles. 'The expression church key is old in the brewing business,' he wrote. 'I worked in a brewery for about 35 years and everybody carried a bottle opener or church key, perhaps so called because it looked like the top end of the kind of heavy ornate key used to unlock church doors.
I am enclosing an old relic that is about 50 years old. It's made of cast iron and from its weight and appearance, you can see its resemblance to a church door key. With the coming of cans in the brewing business, the bottle opener gave way to the can opener that makes the triangular marks - but the name church key was simply transferred to the new device.' Mr. Oberhofer actually did send the cast iron bottle opener, and the evidence seems to me entirely persuasive. Thanks to him for settling a question that has puzzled me for many a year." (Editor's note from Don Bull) Thank you William and Mary Morris... I assume the reference is to a D Cast Iron Cap Lifter."

Lewis Joplin II
Interesting. I use that expression, "church key." I thought it was probably a joke. Someone drops his beer opener and in answer to, "What was that?" he says, "My church key."
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