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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1950 Cans make up 26 percent of the packaged beer market.

1954 The first 16-oz beer can is sold.

1955 Cans participate in atomic bomb civil defense tests in Nevada. The canned food tested proves safe to eat.

1957 aluminium is introduced in metal can making.

1958 The first aluminium can is sold.

1959 On January 22, the first all-aluminium two-piece beverage can, a 7-oz Original Coors, is sold.
1960 The last cone top can is filled, and the easy open can is introduced.

1961 Canned soft drinks are dispensed in vending machines for the first time.

1962 Cans with ring-pull lids are test-marketed by Iron City Beer, and ring-pulls are mass marketed the following year.

1963 The efficient two-piece can making method is initiated, and two-piece "drawn and ironed" cans are developed using less material than traditional three-piece cans. Welded and cemented side seam steel cans are issued.

1965 Aluminium soft drink beverage cans are introduced, and tin-free steel cans appear in the U.S.

1966 Drawn and ironed cans are developed in aluminium. The next year, the two top soft drink manufacturers convert to aluminium packaging.
1967 A survey reveals that 98 percent of American homes still have punch can openers, an 1865 invention.

1968 Reynolds pioneers consumer recycling of aluminium.

1969 Canned Carnation Spreadables go to the moon on Apollo II. The St. Louis Globe-Democrat runs a story on beer can collector Denver Wright, and other collectors in Missouri begin to meet and trade beer cans.

1970 On April 15, Beer Can Collectors of America (BCCA) is founded in St. Louis.

1971 In November, Coors fills its last steel can.

1972 Multi-packs of aluminium beverage cans are introduced. By the mid ‘80s, they are a supermarket favorite. The same year, the first reverse vending machine (RVM) debuts, accepting empty cans in exchange for a cash refund. By 2010, there are over 50,000 RVMs in 40 countries.

1975 Non-detachable beverage can ends are introduced and become destined to replace pull-top tabs.

1977 Mini stay-on tabs are introduced.

1984 The last three-piece steel beer can is produced.

1985 On July 31, cans deliver carbonated beverages to astronauts on the moon. The same year cans enter the spirits market.

1989 Water-based varnishes and retained ring-pull ends for beverage cans are introduced.

1991 aluminium beverage can ends are downsized to save natural resources by using less metal to form the ends. Fluted cans are introduced.

1992 Integrated tab die and spin flow necks are developed for beverage cans, and Coors uses a promotional talking can.

1994 Cans with large opening ends are patented for carbonated beverages.

1995 Ball Corp. introduces the touch top end to help the aluminium can better mimic the experience of drinking from a bottle. Colored tabs are introduced for promotions.

1996 Water-based end coatings are introduced.

1997 The counter shaped can is introduced by the Coca-Cola Co.

1998 Embossed beer cans are introduced.

2000 A new blow-forming process creates a teardrop shape for Michelob and Michelob Light 16-oz beverage cans. Marketing options abound: inside-the-can printing, printing on colored tabs and can ends or on the underside of the tab, and UV-sensitive glow-in the dark graphic options. Self-chilling, environmentally friendly cooling beverage cans are test marketed. Silgan introduces the Dot Top resealable lid.
2001 Campbell's Chunky Soup brand is the first to fully convert to easy-open ends.

2002 Oskar Blues, a Colorado brewpub, becomes the first U.S. microbrewery to invest in a canning line.

2002 "A Man, a Can, a Plan: 50 Great Guy Meals Even You Can Make," by David Joachim, Board Book, inspired by an article in Men's Health and a perfect option for the culinary-challenged, is published.

2003 Ball Corp. introduces the Fresh Can for health and sport drinks that contain sensitive substances, such as vitamins or probiotics that cannot be preserved in an aqueous solution. The can stores sensitive elements in a plastic "wedge" so that they are not mixed with the beverage until the can is opened.

2006 The first microwavable steel food cans are introduced in North America.

2007 Direct laser engraving conquers exacting graphic demands using six to eight colors to make two-piece cans stand out on store shelves. Translucent colors in 2-pieced draw/redraw aluminium cans with matching or contrasting easy open ends hit store shelves. Colored pull-tabs take off, creating differentiation, convenience and customized color options.

2008 From 65 to 75 percent of all retail cans are fitted with easy-open ends. Silgan introduces shaped aluminium and steel cans that can be customized and run on current filling equipment. Shapes and ergonomics enter the tinplate aerosol can market. The first vented wide mouth can is designed to deliver a smoother, draft-like drinking experience and is introduced by Molson Coors.

2009 Molson Coors introduces a cold activated can whose label color indicates when the beer is cold enough to drink. More than 40 microbreweries and brewpubs distribute beer and lager in aluminium cans.

2010 Heineken USA launches the STR Bottle, an upscale aluminium bottle, which when viewed under the black light of a club illuminates to reveal a previously hidden pattern of stars and trails.

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