Beverage can

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beverage can

A beverage can is often an aluminium can manufactured to hold a beverage for consumption for a single time only. See also aluminium can.

The earliest kind of metal beverage can was made out of steel (similar to a tin can) and had no pull tab. Instead, it was opened by using a tool called a church key. Further advancements saw the end pieces of the can made out of aluminium instead of steel.

The first kind of all aluminium can was the same as its forebears, which all still used the church key to open them. In 1962 Alcoa and Pittsburgh Brewing Company introduced a pull tab on their Iron City Beer marketed as "Easy-Open Snap Top", which eliminated the need for a church key, as drinkers could now get the cans open with their hands.

The original pull tabs were actually pop tops where the tabs came off in the user's hand, which allowed people to make curtains out of them by hooking the popped off tabs to one another to make a chain. Enough chains side by side and you had a curtain.

Some people dropped the tab into the can after opening it, rather than finding a wastebasket in which to throw the tab away. They then drank the beverage directly from the can, occasionally swallowing the sharp-edged aluminium tab by accident and causing themselves horrible internal injuries as the tab slashed its way down their throat and through their digestive system.

Fixed pull tabs followed in development, partly to prevent the injuries caused by removable tabs.

One prominent design feature of beverage cans is that they almost invariably have a slightly tapered top and bottom. Under examination, it is seen that the metal on the lid of the can is significantly thicker than the metal on the sides. This means that a great deal of raw materials can be saved by decreasing the diameter of the lid, without significantly decreasing the structural integrity or capacity of the can. In fact, the amount of taper on the average aluminium beverage results in a savings of about 15% versus a non-tapered can. This structural integrity becomes apparent in the construction of beeramids - pyramid-shaped stacks of empty cans popular in some college dormitories.

The most modern advance in can design has been the 'wide mouth' can -- the opening for the liquid to come out has been enlarged.

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