Friday, July 29, 2005

old coffee cans

In a recent entry, I mentioned the fact that my mom made disposable campstoves from coffee cans, when I was small.  That got me waxing nostalgic about the old key-wind coffee cans, which, of course, led me to Ebay; all my sentimental journeys seem to end there.  There were plenty of the rusty relics just waiting for some old lady to adopt them, and I did get one.  Someone had even saved the key to this one, which is why I chose it over the more popular Folgers cans.

I was trying to explain to a longtime, on-line (younger) friend of mine this morning how the cans opened. 

"Key?"  she asked.  "There were locks on coffee cans?"

How does one explain this?

Soldered to the bottom of the can was a key.  You took it off, attached it to the end of a metal strip around the upper part of the can and began to roll until you have removed the strip all the way around the can, thus freeing the lid.

Now, does anybody remember when they stopped putting coffee in the key-wind cans?  I seem to remember getting cut on those strips of metal as late as 1963 or so, when I was living in my first apartment.  I have Googled the subject with no luck at all.

 

10 comments:

amy122389 said...

similar to a sardine tin, right?  :)

~Amy

ksquester said...

oh geesh, I remember those too. (I love them) I know they were in use in 1968. And A&P, I remember that store too, kindda miss it. They had great pasteries. Anne

firestormkids04 said...

I was thinking 1967 or 68, too.  I got married in '66 and we had the key winders then.  What I miss is the poof of coffee smell when the key released the air in the can.  Doesn't seem to happen today.  Penny

bookncoffee said...

Interesting about the coffee can and the key wind process.  Never have seen one like that.  I'm surprised I had not seen one at my grandmother's out the country when I was growing up.  I remember the old flower sacks though, that had kitchen towels sewn into the end of them.  And oat boxes that had a cup and a saucer in them.  Remember those?
Sonya

skisseberth said...

I remember the "key" coffee cans, and know they were still in use around 66-67. Maybe they went by the wayside when the electric can openers really "took off".
My Gramma used to get foods in really big cans [#10 I think], and remember making a "hobo" stove out of one, and cooking on it for a Camp Fire girl badge.
We fried an egg on it ! LOL - as I remember, you cut the center out of a slice of bread, and that way the egg didn't run all over.  Thanks for stirring up sweet memories, Donna. Have a wonderful day !

toonguykc said...

I never knew this!  Weird.  I DO remember pull-tabs on pop cans, however.

csandhollow said...

I remember them. They were on shortening cans too. I remember using them in the seventies.

wpepsiaok said...

oOH MO I REMEMBER THEM SO WELL I FOR GOT ALL ABOUT THEM THANKS FOR THE MEMORY PEPSI

jspiker said...

Great backpacking stove in an emergency!

ryanagi said...

Coffee with a key was before my time...but there are still a few canned products that use a key. Canned ham. Spam did until just a couple years ago. A brand of sardines we get. LOL Nothing is more frustrating than when that tab breaks off before you get the can all the way open.