Dating vintage oil cans

This can only be determined if you're willing to remove the label from the tin. Numbers on labels such as "" may indicate the year made. These numbers may also identify a label stock number but most likely would be identified as No. Early paper labels may not have listed or pictured the product within the tin or can.

Your tin may have graphics or text that can be attributed to a particular time period. Match clothing, furniture, table settings, automobile make, and slogans ex. Advertisers tended to use the most modern fashions on their labels. Look for historical events and important people in the advertising. Much of it was used only for a short time, usually no more than five years, after the event or person was significant.

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There are some exceptions to this; images of Abe Lincoln and Ben Franklin have endured for hundreds of years in advertising. You may need to invest in some good history books, encyclopedias, and old product sales catalogs for reference sources. In our time of nostalgia advertising- this may not be entirely applicable, but other clues will provide more identification information. The construction of your tin may also provide clues to its age.

As time went on, the tin manufacturer realized that all that metal wasn't always needed to protect the product. They also found out that you didn't have to apply as thick a coating of paint, ink, or whatever they used to maintain a somewhat durable finish. So the coatings used became thinner. Paper label stock also became thinner around Certain size tins were in use during particular time periods. Many tins have a copyright date on them.

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In some cases this can identify its age, but be cautious. Copyright and Patent dates can be misleading, appearing on the company's products for many years. A copyright date may appear but the product may not have been actually marketed until the following year or later. Find out more about Copyright and Patent information as you read the listing below.

I'm going to be guessing here, but I would think that the "Limited Edition" became widely used after the 's. Many tins marked with this usually have a date associated with its issuance. It was also in the '70's, to be exact, that the UPC Universal Product Code label came on the scene and began appearing on products. So any tin with a UPC label was manufactured in the last twenty-five years.

Dating vintage oil cans

Don't forget about telephone numbers. Up until the early 's, telephone companies used a two or four digit number, sometimes with a hyphenated suffix. About , rural communities around Milwaukee began using the full seven-digit phone numbers. If someone knows when the familiar and numbers were introduced as well as the Area Code system, I'd like to hear about it.

What I've done here is created a chronology of tin container development along with certain events and laws that will enable you to more accurately pinpoint your tin's age. Some of it may be very difficult to use in determining a tin's age unless you're somewhat of an expert in production method changes and how to distinguish various types of lithography or metal ornamentation. You may need to consult other sources to gain a better understanding of historical, literary, and art influences and when they were significant.

Early paper labels were printed on hand-made paper and wooden presses. Hand-soldered seams - Globby, irregular bands of lead solder along edges and around top, cap, and base of can. Machine-soldered seams - Bands of lead solder much thinner and more-evenly applied. Double locking side-seams - First solderless cans; side-seams crimped on inside or outside of can.

Commercially available by the late s. Cans changed size over time , too, and some of these changes provide clues as to their ages. This is particularly true for evaporated or condensed milk cans. Note all measurements should be made in inches and sixteenths of an inch Hole-and-cap - Can lids have central cap where food was inserted before sealing. No vent hole; cans often swelled or burst during cooking. Hole-in-cap - Same as hole-and-cap, but with tiny pin-hole in center of cap to act as a vent during cooking.

Method perfected by Frenchmen, Godefroi Engelman and son, Jean. New process was called "chromolithographie". The circular tops and bottoms were cut out with shears, and soldered to the body with the aid of a zinc chloride flux.

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Output per man is now a thousand per day. A seamless oval tin holding a cake of solidified toothpowder made by Dr. Israel Whitney Lyon, a dentist, in California. Hinged lid tins were on the market. Tapered tins, like those still used for some brands of corned beef, were first marketed in Howe developed the "Joker" and "Little Joker" systems that automatically attached and soldered can ends.

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The English required their can manufacturers to stop soldering on inside side seams of cans. In America, this practice was discontinued at a later time. These tins were lithographed by using a series of color plates. Multicolored tins were now on the market. A table of dates matching numbers reportedly exists.

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These cans are opened by punching two holes on opposite sides of the can lid or top. A line or dotted line with cutting instructions was printed at the label's top. Top was then cut off with a knife or cleaver. Early cans may include serving directions - heating the can's contents in boiling water without removing the lid.

Other early cans had soldered tops that were opened by melting the solder.


Another type had a ring soldered that was pulled to open the lid. A different version had a metal strip around the rim that was pulled similar to present day frozen juice cans with plastic strips. They were often finished with gold leaf or a cheaper mixture of bronze powder and lacquer used like an ink. Hasker and Marcuse Manufacturing Co.

The flat top tobacco can was introduced on the American market. These first cans had a soldered lock-seam body, with ends crimped on and hermetically sealed using with paper gaskets or a "sealing compound". Initial results not very good. Ellisco, Incorporated first known as George D.

By the s it was the leader in lithographed tin. After - Hole-in-top also called Vent-hole, Matchstick-filler, or Drop-of-solder Cans have solid lids except for tiny pin-hole vent at center, which was sealed with a drop of solder after the contents were cooked. Evaporated milk cans almost exclusively of this type by You sometimes can tell a can that held evaporated milk from one that held condensed milk: Conde nsed milk is too thick to pour through these small openings.

Those cans had to be opened by partially rem oving the lids. This permitted better blending of colors on labels. Use a magnifying glass to examine label. Early stippling done by hand in a random manner; later, Benday screens were introduced with the stippled pattern aligned in rows. Mandated many health requirements, though no special wording.

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When building an inventory of vintage oil cans, focus on limited rust, quality graphics and a minimum of bends and dents. Collectors buy empty and full oil cans without any obvious leaks.