Thursday, August 19, 2010

Can't say enough about cans

All hail the mighty can

U.S. Can Manufacturers Institute is celebrating the birthday of the can this year – really.

They get a little weird about it, but they seem sincere.

“The history of the can is literally a history of western civilization,” their Web site proclaims.

There is a lot of money involved, Americans use 130 billion cans a year creating an $8 billion industry, according to the institute.

But then they fly away again.

“Because we have come to rely so much on the convenience and easy familiarity of canned products, almost imperceptibly present in every part of life, we are the 'tin can civilization.' ”


The history is interesting. 1796 Napoleon’s troops were starving so he started a contest, according to the Web site. A Parisian tried for 15 years before preserving food by partially cooking it and sealing it in bottles with cork stoppers using much the same technique as today’s home preservers. He won the prize in 1810.

The same year, an Englishman won a patent for preserving food in a variety of containers, including iron coated with tin to avoid rust and corrosion, according to the Web site.

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