Monday, April 22, 2013

French or English...the ubiquitous tin can

"The story of how the tin can nearly wasn't"


Tom Geoghegan

April 21st, 2013


Tin cans have, in 200 years, changed the way the world eats. But Victorian disgust over a cheap meat scandal almost consigned the invention to rejection and failure.

Bryan Donkin left the chimney smoke of the city behind as his carriage headed south through Bermondsey, with the Duke of Kent's letter of approval in his hand.

The smell of leather and hops receded as he came to the turnpike at Fort Place Gate, where the gatekeeper's two-storey, brick house marked the end of the urban sprawl.

Behind him was an unhindered view of St Paul's Cathedral while in front lay open land and his factory, where for the previous two years he had been trying to find the best ways to can food.

He could not have known that the impact from the contents of the papers he held would still be felt across the globe 200 years later.

Dated 30 June 1813, the day before, the letter explained that four distinguished members of the royal family - including Queen Charlotte, wife and consort of King George III - had tasted and enjoyed his canned beef.

Indulging such refined palates was not a matter of vanity for this modest Northumbrian engineer.

Instead, it meant he had the highest possible blessing to supply what are thought to be the world's first commercial cans of preserved food to the Admiralty, thereby sparing British seamen thousands of miles away the monotony of salted meat.

Read the detailed story  here .

No comments: