Tin/Can Company Histories
Any information concerning the history of these tin/can manufacturers is welcomed. Contact Editor using links at bottom of page.
Click on the under-lined company name to learn more about the firm.
* Was 104-A also used by Shonk Charles and Southern Can?
The number following the American Can Company code, ex. 104-A 03 means the tin was made in 1903.
Other codes on cans that need to be identified: "B", "F.G.& Co.", "XXXX", "MP", "MPC",
American Can Company - formed in 1901 from the purchase and consolidation of sixty tin container companies representing one hundred twenty-three factories. After the merging, a number of factory sites were shut down or sold. Edwin Norton, a leader in the formation, became the newly found enterprise's first president with headquarters in Chicago. Those firms remaining in operation were assigned a number that was printed on the tin/can. For example, Hasker & Marcuse Manufacturing Company in Richmond, VA was assigned 50-A. Any tin or can found with these designations were manufactured after 1901. In some cases the initials "A C Co." were used. From 1910/12 until 1921, the word CANCO was also used.
American Tinplate Company - formed in 1898 (?) , an amalgamation of 38 tin plate works due to severe competition. Poor work facilities were closed, a sales organization was formed, production was reduced to stabilize prices. In 1903, the sheet and tinplate subsidiaries were combined to form the American Sheet and Tin Plate Company.
Ginna & Company - by the 1870's the firm was well received by customers for it's high quality and craftmanship. Their mastering of one-color lithography, with shadings and gentle lines mixing with thicker ones, produced greater depth and detailing.They once created a container that required twelve different printing plates.
Hasker & Marcuse Manufacturing Company - Richmond, Virginia, a center for the tobacco industry bore a business first making lithographed metal tobacco tags in 1891. But Charles Hazlewood Hasker and grocer Milton Marcuse had grander notions and soon were producing tins for the many tobacco companies in the area. Because they weren't earlycomers to the field of lithography, they by-passed the tedious one-color stage and began in the chromolithography era. Before the business merged with American Can in 1901, Mr. Hasker sold his share of the firm to his partner.
Heekin Can Company - James Heekin began business as a coffee roaster in 1864, gradually adding items such as baking powder, spices and tea. With business expanding he began making his own tins. After he started selling them to other companies, he formed the Heekin Can Company in 1901. His trademark, a capital H in a circle, is found on tins and cans his firm produced. At one time sold to Diamond Industries.
S.A. Ilsley & Co. - Colonel Silas Augustine Ilsley began one of the earliest tin production business in the U.S. Considered at the time to be a leader in the field, Ilsley began with a couple dozen employees swelling that to over two hundred before the firm was merged with the American Can Company. Ilsley retired to the Green Mountains of Middlebury, Vermont to raise Morgan horses.
J.L. Clark - After serving in the Union Navy during the Civil War, John L. Clark started a hardware store in Rockford, Illinois. As business grew he became adept at metal working, inventing the GEM Flue Stopper. When production couldn't keep his equipment bust enough he ventured into making metal ointment boxes for wholesale druggists. The metal box business was more properous and in 1903 he sold the hardware store and with his son, L.H. Clark, started J.L. Clark Manufacturing Company. When the business incorporated in 1904, the firm also began working with metal lithography. The company has produced a host of different containers for a variety of applications. The firm acquired the Liberty Can & Sign Company in 1955. In 1969 they purchased the Eureka Can Company. In 1987 they were bought by Clarcor.Subject:Tin/Can Company Histories.......Chiptin
Date:Tue, 24 Apr 2001 20:54:47 -0400
Think your listing for McClary Mfg. Co., should read: London, Ontario, Canada.....not London England. Makes more sense as McClary, Sheet Metal Products (Kemp Mfg.), and MacDonald Mfg., merged to form General Steel Wares in 1927. We collect General Store Measures in tin and graniteware and have several from each of the manufacturers mentioned above. The McClary's are clearly marked London, Ontario. These Canadian measures also had an inspectors "button" in lead or brass attached to the handles which can help date individual items from 1890 through 1930.
Hope this helps and appreciate your listing.
Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, Canada
Norton Brothers Tin Can & Plate Company - began as "E. Norton" operating in Toledo, Ohio by Edwin Norton in 1868. As his business grew, he began making his own tins later in 1868 also selling them to such firms as Woolson Spice Company. He added a partner, a Mr. Francher, for a time and moved his company to Chicago in the 1869/71 time period. The partnership didn't last long and he was joined by his brother, Oliver, in 1873; the business now Norton Brothers. With the business still growing, the operation moved to nearby Maywood in 1885. Incorporating their business in 1890 as Norton Brothers Tin Can & Plate Company, they combined what was ordinarily two operations into one business - making the tinplate, then manufacturing and decorating the tins. Around 1893, the brothers invented a machine that could stamp out an entire can automatically, greater increasing proudction output. The Norton business focused on supplying stores with tea and coffee caddies, often available in sets. They patented several types. They specialized in "Japanning", a lacquer decoration,and combining transfer designs with stenciled lettering. By the 1880's though the production emphasis turned to vegetable cans. In 1883, the firm patented a semi-automatic body maker which mechanically soldered side seams. Edwin Norton patented a vacuum-pack tin in 1898. In 1901 Edwin helped form the American Can Company becoming it's first president with headquarters in Chicago.In 1940 he left American to form the rival - Continental Can Company.
Sanitary Can Company - formed in 1904 by New York City jobbers Bogel and Scott, Max Ams Machine Company of New York, and the Cobbs Preserving Company of New Jersey. Produced the first sanitary can, pretty muchas it looks today.
Somers Brothers - Daniel M., Joseph L., and Guy A.Somers began their business in Brooklyn during 1869, first making metal tags. Their tins are appreciated by many since they developed their own form of lithography (in 1879) that required a process lasting several days. When they sold the business to the American Can Company, the firm had grown fully employing over 150 employees. They created the talcum powder tin with rotating top for Mennen.
Tin Decorating Company (Tindeco) - started in 1901 in Baltimore, Maryland. The firm specialized in making tins for the many tobacco companies in the area. Makers of the famous Roly-Poly tins. At some point in time it was purchased by the American Tobacco Company, possibly after it's incorporation in 1912. Owens-Illinois Can Company later bought the firm then sold it to the Continental Can Company in 1944 becoming its' Plant No. 9.
References: Metal Decorating From Start to Finishes by Charles R. Bragdon, 1961; Illustrated Tin Container Guide by Evalene Pulati, 1973; The Tin Can Book by Hyla M. Clark, 1977; Canadian Country Store Collectibles by Bill & Pauline Hogan, 1979; Tins'n'Bins by Robert W. and Harriet Swedberg, 1985; Oyster Cans with Price Guide by Jim & Vivian Karsnitz, 1993; Antique Tins Book II by Fred Dodge, 1998; Encyclopedia of Advertising Tins Vol. II by David Zimmerman, 1998
Mike, We have a few additions to your listings and would like your thoughts as to our web page. The first listing, you show as Aubrey, Montreal Canada. I think this may be: A. Aubry & Fils Limitee, Montreal. We have one piece in our collection and guess it to be about 1914. (can send picture) The second is Kemp Mfg., Toronto. I'm pretty sure now the established date is 1887, changed their name to Sheet Metal Products in 1911, and were part of the 1927 GSW buyout. (check the link to the Kemp Family on our web page). Sheet Metal Products, was in Toronto, 1911 to 1927. McClary Mfg., was established in 1847 (now have a 1917 Catalogue to verify) until the buyout in 1927. You might also want to add: E.T.Wright and Co., Hamilton Ontario. Established in 1883 and were also part of the buyout in 1927. (have 2 examples in our little but growing collection and can E Mail photos.) We still have to research Aubry and would like to know how you came across the name...may help us both. Now, maybe you can help us a little. We have put together a basic web page and would like to have it included in your directory. We would like you to check it out at; www.onlink.net/~johnell You will notice that we linked it back to your page, as we have had a few Emails as a result of your link to us....enjoyable and we responded to each promptly. Your page has been of value to us and we are hoping that the two will compliment each other and enable us to continue sharing information. Besides Aubry, we would also like to research Landau and Cormack (from your listing), and a new find from New Brunswick bearing all kinds of touchmarks, but no makers name. Hope you will find our page of some interest and of course we look forward to your thoughts and guidance. Thanks in advance, John and Nell Slater
This is a reference to the Joseph P. LeComte Manufacturing Company, which indeed was absorbed by American Can. Family legend has it that the machines were thrown into the Gowanus Canal . After the merger, family member Victor LeComte in 1903 founded LeComte & Co., which manufactured tin cans in Brooklyn and New Jersey until 1993. It also manufactured wastepaper baskets and letter holders. I don't remember all the customers, but among them were spice companies, DuPont, Barton candies (I think), the Defense Department and crematoriums. It also made cans for movie stock and for ice cream -- you packed the ice cream surrounded by a ring of dry ice. Four generations of LeComtes worked there, the last being myself (summer job during college) and my brother. Richard LeComte Reno, Nevada, Thu, 15 Jul 2004 16:18:53