Can sizes are given in the nomenclature usually employed in the industry, which avoids the confusion of conflicting local names of cans. In this system, the cans are identified by a statement of their dimensions (overall diameter and overall height). Each dimension is expressed as a number of three digits. The first digit gives the number of whole inches, while the next two digits give the additional fraction of the dimensions expressed as sixteenths of an inch. The first number given in the size of each can is the diameter, and the second number is the height. For example, a can designated as 303 x 406, is 3-3/16 inches in diameter and 4-6/16 inches in height, with in the manufacturing tolerances. The dimensions are ''overall'', the diameter being measured to the outside of the double seam., and the height including the entire seam at each end of the can. The following table lists the dimensions of common sizes used in industry and their approximate metric equivalents. The metric equivalents were calculated on the basis of 1 inch equals 25.40 millimeters.
Source:National Food Processors Association Bulletin 26-L, 12th Ed. 1982
History of cans
1795 Napoleon offers a 12,000 franc prize for a method of preserving food for his armies which had such long, vulnerable supply lines that hunger began to tax their fighting strength.
1810 Nicolas Appert, a French confectioner, wins the prize. He experimented in preserving food by sterilisation.
1810 An Englishman, Peter Durand, received a patent from King George III for a tin-plated iron can as a food container. At that time, cans were made of iron and coated with a thin layer of tin. But even the best craftsmen could only produce up to 60 cans a day, whereas today's modern beverage can making lines are producing over one million cans a day.
1846 Henry Evans invents a die device for making a can in a single operation. His invention enables the production of cans to be increased from 6 to 60 per hour.
1847 An American, Allen Taylor, patents a machine-stamped tin can.
1850-70 Techniques are perfected for sealing tin cans with various types of soldering processes.
1877 Simplified "side seamer" for cans is introduced.
1880-90 Sees the first automatic can-making machinery introduced in Britain. Its development made cans a serious contender for preserving foods and liquids.
1885 "Condensed" milk is first canned in the United States.
1900 The "sanitary" open-top can is developed in Europe for food. The process greatly increases manufacturing speeds. Can lids, however, are still soldered by hand after the food has been put into the can.
1914 Continuous ovens for drying print on tinplate cans are introduced.
1920's Developments in the improvement of the can linings are introduced to lengthen the life of the contents, using zinc compounds.
1922 American invention for "crimping" lids onto cans is introduced in Europe. This results in faster can manufacturing speeds.
By the 1930s the technology had advanced to a stage when drinks could be packaged in cans. Continental European producers introduced beverage cans shaped like bottles. These cans are constructed from three pieces of metal and have a cone-shaped top closed by a "crown" cork.
1935 The first flat-top can of beer appeared for sale in Richmond, Virginia. Canned beer is introduced to the UK by Felinfoel Brewery in Wales, using steel cans with cone-shaped tops.
1950's Flat topped beer cans are introduced in Britain.
1963 Ernie Fraze, an American, of the Dayton Reliable Tool Company, working with Alcoa, invents the aluminium easy-open end.
This development had a dramatic effect on the growth of sales of cans as containers for beer and carbonated soft drinks, since it brought a new level of convenience to the consumer. Until that time, beverage cans relied upon a triangular steel opener to puncture holes in one end.
1964 The two-piece can, made from an aluminium impact extrusion, is developed in the United States. This is an important step forward, since it uses less metal than the traditional three-piece can.
1965 Tin-free steel cans using coatings of chromium metal and chromium oxides are developed in the United States.
1966-67 The two-piece "drawn and wall ironed" (DWI) can is developed in aluminium in the United States.
1968 The first tin-free steel cans are made in Britain using materials supplied by the British Steel Corporation.
1970 Tinplate two-piece DWI cans are launched in Britain followed later in the 1970s by aluminium two-piece DWI cans.
1981 Two-piece cans dominate the drinks can market, accounting for virtually 100% of UK beverage can production.
1983 Three European steel producers form tri-partite technical agreements for steel easy open end development.
1986 Introduction of equipment for on-line nitrogen injection allows use of beverage cans for still drinks.
1987 Introduction of the "206" diameter can for carbonated soft drinks.
1988 Introduction of the "206" diameter can for beer.
1989 Introduction of retained ring-pull ends for carbonated soft drinks cans.
1990 Introduction of retained ring-pull ends for beer cans.
1991 Introduction of "202" and "204" diameter cans in the USA.
1992 "Widget" technology introduced for draught beer in cans.
1993 Eco-top steel ends introduced into the UK market.
1994 "Widget" technology extended to lager in cans.
1995 Coloured tabs used for promotions.
1997 Introduction of coloured ends to co-ordinate with can body decoration.
"Widget" technology extended to cider in cans.
Introduction of shaped cans.
1998 Introduction of Large Opening End into UK beer market.
The aperture on these cans is 45% bigger than on a standard can.
Introduction of embossed cans for take home beer.
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last updated 2006/03/07,10:48PM