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Painting by Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol Painting Of Campbell's Soup Cans | Photo by

“It’s M’M M’M Good,” But Where Did The Can Come From?

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You might have to be a certain age to remember the slogan, but I think you can see where this is going. They actually had commercials in which they sang the slogan. Recently I was opening a can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup and the sound of one of their iconic commercial jingles came rushing into my head. To quote the jingle “M’M M’M Good, M’M M’M Good. That’s what Campbell’s soups are, M’M M’M Good.” Here’s the 1930’s version of the jingle.

The can had one of those pop-top rings to open it, but many canned products still have to be opened with a can opener.

Soup Can
Campbell’s Soup Eazy-Open Can | Photo by

All of my life I have used products in these cans, but only recently did I wonder when the process actually started and who came up with the idea.

Philippe de Girard
Philippe de Girard | Image by

According to Wikipedia Philippe de Girard, a Frenchman, was supposedly the first person to use the tin canning process. He gave the idea to Peter Durand as his agent to get the idea patented in 1810. The process was an extension of the experimental work that was being done in 1809 to preserve food in glass containers by Nicholas Appert, a French inventor.

Tin Can Factory
Dunkin & Hill Tin Can Factory | Image by

It seems the game of pass-it-on continued when Durand sold his patent in 1812 to two Englishmen Bryan Donkin and John Hall. According to Wikipedia they “refined the process and product, and set up the world’s first commercial canning factory on Southward Park Road, London. By 1813 they were producing their first tin canned goods for the Royal Navy.

Sir John Franklin
Sir John Franklin | Photo by

The cans were soldered together with tin-lead alloy which could cause lead poisoning. In fact, crew members of the Arctic Expedition of Sir John Franklin in 1845 suffered from lead poisoning after eating tin canned food. There is an alternate explanation that the lead poisoning could have been caused by the lead water pipe system on the two ships used for the expedition.

The American Can Company
The American Can Company | Photo by Global Encasement. Inc.

The American Can Company was founded in 1901 in the United States and they produced 90% of the tin cans made in the United States. Even though they are still called tin cans by many people today’s canned goods are made of aluminum.

An article on states that “according to the Washington-based Can Manufacturers Institute, a total of 100.750 billion cans were shipped in North America in 2001 up half of a % from the 100.277 billion cans that were shipped in 2000. European demand reportedly was a little bit stronger – up about 5%.”

The article goes on to say that aluminum cans have been used for beverages since 1960 first for frozen juice concentrate. in 1961 a survey showed the public preferred the aluminum cans.

“By 1963 12 ounce aluminum beverage cans were beginning to be produced in larger quantities and in 1967 that column swelled considerably when Coca Cola and Pepsi converted to aluminum cans.”

Andy Warhole
Andy Warhol | Photo by

The Campbell’s Soup can labels are iconic in the packaging industry. So much so that that back in the 1960’s Pop Artist Andy Warhol made a lot of money selling paintings of these cans with their red and white labels.

Painting by Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol Painting Of Campbell’s Soup Cans | Photo by

The painting was sold on November 17, 1971 at Sotheby’s in New York for $10,000 at auction. Ponder that the next time you have a steaming hot bowl of Campbell’s Soup.

Let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can comment below or email me at: [email protected].

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