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National Tin Can Day (January 19)

Check out the weird holiday National Tin Can Day on January 19. Learn the history of tin cans, as well as get ideas on how to celebrate.

One weird holiday on January 19 is National Tin Can Day. Check out the other weird January holidays!

History of National Tin Can Day

The tin can was invented by the Frenchman Philippe Henri de Girard in the early 1800s. Its creation drastically changed the lives of military and explorers, as they could now travel for long distances without concern for the shelf lives of their food.

The reason for its invention was becuse the French Directory offered a 12,000 franc prize for someone who could develop a breakthrough in the preservation of food for the Napoleon army. Nicolas Appert, a chef in Paris, won that prize and earned the nickname “father of canning.” His creation involved using a champagne bottle preserved with cheese and lime.

Peter Durand decided to patent that idea and used a tinplate. Then around that same time, the Northumbrian developers Bryan Donkin and John Hall built the first commerical canning factory in 1812.

The following year, two Englishment named Ezra Dagget and Thomas Kesett Sr. began to can food items like fruit, meat, oysters, and vegetables in New York. The cans were very difficult to open, so typically people used hammers, chisels, rocks, or even bayonets! Their patent was received in January 19, 1825.

Contrary to the name, tin cans today are not made 100% out of tin – usually they are made from steel, aluminum, or steel coated with tin. Tin-plated steel cans were introduced to the United States in 1818. Originally, tin cans were sealed using lead, but that caused lead poisoning.

In 1858, Ezra Warner invented the first can opener, which was used in the Civil War by the United States military. Later in 1870, William Lyman invented the modern design of a can opener with a wheel.

Tin cans are the most recycled material in Europe.

Ideas for National Tin Can Day

Other than making tin can telephones with some string, here are some other things you can do to celebrate this weird holiday.

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