For years
Crown Cork
& Seal
been strictly
a bottle cap manufacturer.

However, on 18 February,
with revenue from the sale
of a gasket manufacturing
plant, CCS President
Charles E. McManus
secures a downpayment
for a Philadelphia plant
belonging to Acme Can.
Though it's a
baby-step, CCS
is now canning
beer in tall, nar-
row cone tops
with attached
paper labels.

...with their gorgeous Test Can (designed in late '34 or early '35, I believe) to tout its product, and with it will reel in most of the nation's major brewers.
The beer can is one year old, and bottlers are getting desperate.  For starters, they start passing out these little business cards:
Also, they're pushing their newest product, the disposable bottle.
Previously: 1909 to 1935
Next: 1937
But Stubby, Steinie & Nu-Glas bottles will never do a lot to damage the beer can's success.
The CANCO Pitch:
December '36

NCC now has its own "Punch." 

If your beer can's lid looks like the lid in the image
above, it probably
fell victim to this
"Punch" patent - opens in a new window.
C.E. McManus:
CCS President, inventor of
15 December 1936

ACCO receives
its 2nd beer
can patent,
#2,064,537, for
their Groenke
beer can body.
7 & 8 April 1936

submits patent
applications de-
tailing new and
improved con-
cave bottom

and raised ribs
(and lining pro-
cess).  CCC's
cans are now stronger than before.
Patent - opens in a new window.
17 August 1936

now available in
Keglined cans.

"Keglined" is becoming synonymous with big business.
Fall '36

Disappointing sales prompt Krueger to temporarily stop canning Kent Ale.  This beautiful work of art is set aside for a few months, but will again be  circulated in 1938.
Nepro Cork, at least four cone top designs, and the Crowntainer.
18 February 1936
Early Spring '36

National cans
Hillman's Export
for Peter Fox.

For years this can
only existed in
However, thanks to
beer can archae-
the world
saw its first actual
Hillman's in decades in 2002.

The first surviving example of the second Hillman's design had been unearthed just a year earlier, also by beer can archaeologists.
J. E. Selliken invents a "rippable"
tab top.

But, as with the Richeson
invention, the technology just doesn't exist at this time to make tab top
function as advertised.
Inside the Jersey City plant - where the very first cans were made.
1936                                                                                                                                    ( 1936)                                                                                                                                   1936
Spring '36

The Paris Can

Trying to solve
(a) the problem
of opening flat
tops, and (b)
the problem of
stacking cone
tops in grocery
store displays,
Robert Paris
introduces his
universally stackable design to
the brewing community.

However, the Paris Can will never make it past the drawing board.
Kent: not exactly selling like hot cakes.
Click for larger image

...and runs an aggressive, genuinely continental ad campaign; finds plenty of business with smaller brewers nation-wide.
Click for larger image
Click for larger image
Pittsburgh Brewing Company signs with National.

Iron City Beer cans are dubbed  "Double- Lined 
14 August 1936
December '36

Crown Can introduces their Piercing and Serving Device for flat tops.
24 January 1936
6 October 1936

Samuel E.
invents a
tab top for
beer cans.

But the technology required to economically mass-produce this toggling opener is years away.
Failed Tab Tops
Failed tab tops
24 December 1936
A May 1936 grocery ad.  Note the hand-drawn letters for the word "DELUXE."
Click for larger image
What Richeson's Can Closure might have looked like
February and March 1936

and Commonwealth become National's fifth and sixth business partners.
November 1936 grocer's ad:
Acme's response?  "Fat chance!"  The California brewer will continue to use the dietetic claim for years.
11 August 1936
The Federal Trade Commission determines Acme's beer is not, as Acme claims, "non-fattening," and tells the brewer to knock it off.
Click for larger image
14 August 1936

17 March 1936

Miller chooses St. Patrick's Day to start selling their Select Beer in Keglined cans.
"Beer is
packed in this
container for
your benefit.
It is protected
from the harm-
ful effects of
light on its
delicate pro-
tein content,
and by this
modern up-to-
date method of
packing beer,
you can now be
sure of drinking a brew which has the same clear amber color and delicious taste as the ice-cold beer which  flows from the ageing vats."
1 March 1936

Hoover Dam
is completed.
Opens in a new window.
A Portsmouth, Ohio advetiser who didn't have an image of a Fox DeLuxe got creative with this K-Man can.
Paris Can - patent opens in a new window.
Click for larger image
Early flat top beer cans contained instruction panels on opening procedures; six examples are pictured to the right.

Coors, first canned in December 1935, may have been the lone exception to this rule.  Their beer cans -- flat tops -- never contained opening instructions.
From the flat top's earliest days people strove to create a built-in opening device.  At least one lucky collector owns
actual protoype "self-
opening" cans from
these earliest days.
Click the image on
the right for more
Opens in a new window
Click for larger image
6 August 1936
Arizona Brewing begins canning with Continental Can Co.
8 or 9 March 1936

Rainier begins packaging in
Cap-Sealed cans.
8 October 1936

Crown Cork & Seal has finalized last payment for the Acme Can Company.  Crown Can is officially born.
April '36
For the next several months rumors circulate that CCS is going to merge with Continental Can.
Photocopy of the page containing this ad - opens in a new window
Seen below, a Middleton, NY ad from Dec '36 touted Ballantine's, Ebling's, and Hoffman's beer in cans. Was this ad's language sloppy?  Or did Peter Fox actually can Hoffman's?  And if so, did the can look something like the digital recreation here?
Summer '36: FTC accuses ACCO, CCC of monopolizing tin industry
19 June 1936

Max Schmeling
KOs previously
Joe Louis
in the 12th.
After a dozen or so variations of their original design, Heileman Brewing introduces their revamped Cap-Sealed can.  This may have been the first cone top to undergo a major label change.
17 July 1936

Civil War
begins in
In addition to new operations at the Acme Can Company plant, CCS builds new plants in St.Louis
and Madison, Wisconsin.

The goal is to lay the groundwork for a huge operation, then make a cheaper can.

May - June '36

Crown Cork & Seal, along with others, accuse American and Continental of conspiring with steel mills to keep new canning businesses from growing.

The smaller canners, like Crown, claim American and Continental are overpaying steel mills to prevent them from selling to smaller companies... like Crown Cork & Seal.

The Federal Trade Commission agrees.
1 September 1936
Click for larger image
November '36 ad depicting Old Tap as the perfect Xmas gift
Typo, Oversight, or Clue?
Click the image above to scan the newspaper that carried this ad in 1936.
Click for larger image
Click the logo
for Heileman's
reflecting the date
the brewery changed their label design.
Opens in a new window.
Beer cans disappeared altogether from Iron City ads in November of 1936.
But McKeesport's National Can
is still having problems with their "double lined" cans.

Iron City ads (like the one above) appear in various periodicals until late November 1936, then sudden-
ly vanish.  Apparently Pittsburgh Brewing didn't mess around too long with NCC's unreliable cans.
Lining and seam problems continue to plague National.  Reports indicate drinkers are encountering "spoiled" beer and leaks, and most potential canners shop elsewhere.
Continental pours money into expanding their facilities, increasing their overall production capacity.
Click for larger image
abc_1936_ad.jpg 160 600 97 363
Click for larger image
Feb/Mar '36

Schlitz cans its Sunshine Vitamin D Beer.
Click for larger image
Blatz, first canned in December '35, runs an aggressive advertising cam-paign in 1936.
The similarity between Selliken's invention and the Juice Tab -- which won't appear for another 30 years -- is amazing.
Click for larger image
Click for larger image
Typically, American Can Company's ads weren't as frequent or ubiquitous as Continental's, but were much larger and more elaborate.
The K-Man Gets  a Makeover
K-Man sprouts a hat in early '36, and the contents of his tray change.
Miller ran this ad in numerous papers, just days after first selling their beer in cans.
Click for larger image
Some Cap-Sealed can ads claimed "like a keg - it's lined."  No doubt this raised some eyebrows at American.
Click for larger image
Mulehead ad from May of '36
Opens in a new window.
Click for larger image
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© Phil Thompson