Can-Do Attitude: 200th Can-niversary timeline

You've come a long way baby! In honor of the can's 200th birthday, we're publishing a list of the can's most notable events in history.

By Diane Toops, News & Trends Editor

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200th Can-niversary timeline


1795 Napoleon Bonaparte offers 12,000 francs for a method of preserving food for his army and navy.

1809 Nicolas Appert, "Father of Canning," receives the 12,000-franc prize from the French government for preserving food by sterilization.

1810 The can is born when Englishman Peter Durand receives a patent from King George III for a tin-plated iron can to be used as a food container.

1818 Peter Durand introduces the tin-plated can in America.

1819  Thomas Kensett and Ezra Daggett of England can oysters, fruits, meats and vegetables in New York City.

1825 Kensett patents the tin-plated can in America.

1849 Henry Evans patents the pendulum press, capable of making a can end in a single operation. Machinery increases individual worker production from five to six cans per hour to 50 or 60 per hour.

1856 Gail Borden is granted a patent on condensed milk.

1875 Arthur A. Libby and William J. Wilson develop the tapered can for corned beef in Chicago.

1877 The simplified side seamer appears and helps continue to make production of cans more efficient.

1880 The first automatic can-making machinery is introduced.

1898 The George W. Cobb Preserving Co. perfects the sanitary can.

1914 Continuous ovens for drying inked tinplate are introduced.

1921 When used in an enamel can lining, zinc oxide and other zinc compounds are found to prevent discoloration.

1927 Erik Rotheim of Norway patents an aerosol can designed to dispense products using chemical propellants.

1935 On January 24, Kreuger Brewing becomes the first company to sell beer in cans. Krueger's Cream Ale is marketed in flat top steel cans in Richmond, Va.
1940 Carbonated soft drink canning begins, using a type of can called a high profile cone top can.

1941 U.S. soldiers depend on canned field rations, including Hormel Spam, during World War II.

1942-1946 Beer cans are used primarily by military forces and are produced in a drab olive color so as not to reflect light.

1950 Robert H. Abplanalp develops an aerosol clog-free spray valve, creating markets for spray paints and personal care and household products.
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