By: Michael Shah
A peeler (potato peeler and/or apple peeler) is a metal blade attached to a wooden, metal or plastic handle that is used to remove the outer skin or peel thus peeling certain vegetables, frequently potatoes, and fruits such as apples, pears, et cetera.

There are three main varieties, the Lancashire design involving the blade as an extension of a handle, in much the same way as the blade is attached to a knife. A right hander typically holds the potato in one's left hand and holding the peeler in the fingers of the right hand and the top of the potato with the thumb of the right hand. The action then involves using the fingers of the right hand to pull the peeler's blade over the skin of the potato, turning it slightly so that it digs in and removes the potato skin, in a movement towards the right thumb. This also uses the grip of the right thumb to allow the movement of the fingers of the right hand to be based on the contraction of the right hand in a claw movement which is easier to accomplish than if the movement of the right fingers were to be controlled by the right arm or wrist.

Note: left-handed people usually transpose the hands in the above explanation.
The second variety more closely resembles a safety razor (sometimes it is called a Y-peeler (due to its shape), Rex peeler, yoke peeler, or speed peeler), with the blade perpendicular to the handle, is used with a similar action to a razor, shaving off skin in strips parallel to the handle. Most speed peelers have an 'eye gouger' beside the blade, a loop of metal used to dig out eyes and blemishes from the potato.

The third variety has no official name, but is used extensively in Australia, where the design originated. It was designed in about 1947 by a company called Dalsonware in Melbourne who call it the "Dalson Classic Aussie Peeler". It consists of a plastic handle which extends upwards to support both the base and tip of a partially rotating blade. This type of peeler is also typical of a general fruit and vegetable peeler in Canada.

In an industrial setting, potatoes may be peeled using steam jets to loosen the surface skin, followed by a dry abrasion peeler, and brushes and water sprays. The process may also involve treatment with lye to soften the outer skin. One type of mechanical peeler, the Magnascrubber, tumbles the potatoes on rollers with rubber studs, which removes the skin. Similar tumbling units with variously sized disc shaped studs are used for peaches, tomatoes, beets and carrots.
The modern day electric motor industrial potato peelers where first created by a British company called IMC.
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