January 19, 2013 - Tin Can Day

Are tin cans made of tin?

Actually, most are made of tin-coated steel. The steel is coated because nobody wants to eat "Chile con Rust" or "Chicken Noodle Soup (Now with More Rust!)," and tin does NOT rust and react with food and liquids. 

Tin-coated steel is often called tinplate.

Sometimes people call cans made from aluminum or other metals “tin cans,” but no matter what the metal, tin cans are defined as air-tight containers made of thin metal for the storage of food or other goods. Tin cans are often opened by a tool that cuts or tears the metal, although more and more now are opened using a pull tab.

(According to Wikipedia: “The first tin cans were heavy-weight containers that required ingenuity to open, using knives, chisels, or even stones.” It wasn't until 50 years after the invention of tin cans—at which point the metal used was lighter weight—that people were able to purchase and use can openers!) 

Peter Durand patented the tin can on this date in 1810. In honor of Durand's contribution to food preservation, try these activities:

  • Tin can roll. For this competition, everyone chooses a tin can they think can roll the fastest. Choose a race spot that has a slight slant, and—on your mark, get set, roll!

Also on this date:

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