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.
As time passed and manufacturing processes improved, the gauge and weight of cans decreased.
Cans were made (mostly) of steel from 1935 through about 1980.
We can narrow the date the can was produced by interpreting this patent information as follows: 1935 - 1937: "Patents Pending" 1938 - Mid-1940s: "Pats., 1,625,229 - 2,064,537 others pending" 1947 - Mid-1950s: "Pats., 2,064,537, 2,259,498 - 2,178,618" printed across a full length, vertical panel.
Mid - Late 1950s: "Pats., 2,064,537, 2,259,498 - 2,178,618" printed near the seam in small font. To further narrow down the date of American Can Co.
"Who's Who in Brew": this is a listing of all known brands of American beer and their approximate dates of production from 1933 through 1978.
The author acknowledges that the dates are as accurate as possible but can be off by years in some cases.
Early cans tend to have "Ale," "Beer," "Bock," or "Lager" in very large letters.
Early flat tops often displayed a "Cool Before Serving" line on the front of the can or "Keglined" on the front of the can.
The first such "instructionals" often featured a picture of a churchkey opener that vertically spanned from the top to the bottom of the can.
Since beer in cans was new, breweries also opted to display the type of beer in very prominent (sometimes more prominent than the brand of beer) letters.
Apparently Pittsburgh Brewing didn't mess around too long with NCC's unreliable cans.