Pabst TAPaCan - Technology at work.

This ad for Babst beer makes a big deal of the packaging. Why's that? Turns out, in 1936, getting beer into a can without turning into skunkwater was a big deal.

For the full story, you can read this website, whose credentials we can't be bothered to verify. The simple enthusiasm of beer fans is enough for me to buy into the timeline presented at keglined.com.

The long at the short of it is that beer goes bad in a hurry when in contact with metal, and it wasn't until 1935 or so that the American Can Company worked out the vinyl-based coating (with the help of Union Carbide) on the inside of beer cans that keeps the beer from turning into whiz. "Keglined" became a trademark of ACCO in 1934, during the development process. As of '35, you could buy decent beer in cans, which was exciting more for the retailer than the customer. Bottles seal just as well as cans (for good flavor), but as the ad states, cans allow greater density on shelves, due to their stackability. Fair enough, but that's big news for the guy selling the beer, rather than the guy buying it, as the illustration suggests.

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There's some nice 1935 deco in this ad. There's something interesting going on here. Rule #1 of advertising art is "don't bury the product shot". You'd think that airbrushing the characters and the skyline would make them the focal point of the composition. leaving the comparatively flat beer can in the man's arms to take a back seat. However, by leaving the can free of shading, the artist has retained maximum contrast and clarity so that it pops out at you, despite being so small. Clever.

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