I've just discovered today that there is an instrument used for peeling garlic - it looks like a simple tube made of silicone or rubber. Here's a sample video with it.

I have the feeling that this is something kind of new (decades), I think a century ago everyone was peeling their garlic manually, using a knife.

My question is: when, approximately, did this device first appeared in shops? If there was any other garlic peeling device before this one, when it was invented?

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    I've peeled a lot of garlic without one of those and never used a knife. You can squeeze/smush it and take off the peel by hand too, not just with the tube. – Cascabel May 19 '17 at 13:46
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    The tube does an ok job of leaving you with whole cloves, if you weren't planning to mince/chop/mash it (say, whole roasted cloves). But most of the time the smash-and-peel is more efficient than daintily removing the skin. – Joshua Engel May 19 '17 at 14:32

An article on Never Too Curious states that the silicone garlic peeler was patented in 1998.

From the article:

However, I have a neat workaround in my kitchen, a silicone garlic peeler. It is essentially a rubbery tube that comfortably houses a clove of garlic – roll it back and forward on the counter a few times, and the garlic skin slides right off. Genius. The thing was patented in 1998, and the invention “aims to allow the skin to be removed from the individual garlic clove in a safe, speedy, hygienic and odour-free way using, if necessary, only one hand.” I peeled my 20+ cloves in mere minutes. Thank you genius person who invented it. In fact, I know exactly who that is.

The silicone garlic peeler was invented by Ben Omessi, a retired American architect who had taken to designing home items for people with disabilities. When he was recovering from a major operation in 1991, he found he was too weak to stand and peel the amounts of garlic his wife used for cooking. This lead to the idea that handicapped people would have trouble with this task, too. A few years later the E-Z-Rol garlic peeler was born.

I have to admit that I thought it had been around longer.

Edit: Per this article in The New York Times from Feb 1996, the garlic peeler was available for sale at that time and had a patent pending.

  • Awesome! It's so nice to have a place where you can learn not only about cooking itself but also about the history of cooking and the history of the tools used in cooking! Thanks everyone! – BearCode May 19 '17 at 16:40
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    It used to be common to get cheap kitchen drain stoppers made from rubber/cloth sheets. I remember then from the 80's, often they were give-aways with advertising on them. It was a common hack to use them in this way was well as to get a grip on jar lids. When I first saw one of the silicone peelers, my first thought was someone was bright enough to patent the hack and make a dedicated device to lose the worries of a dirty item being used. The 2nd or 3rd time I lost mine though, went back to smash and peel. lol – dlb May 19 '17 at 19:31

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