Ever wondered why a jerry can is called a jerry can? It may not be something that has even crossed your mind before, but there is an interesting story behind the name.
German History Of The Jerry Can
As with a lot of modern inventions, the jerry can was first devised during the Second World War. Jerry cans were originally called Wehrmacht-Einheitskanister (which roughly translates as an armed forces unit canister) and were first made in 1930’s Germany. They were needed to carry large amounts of fuel to the army vehicles, without the need for tools and funnels. The original fuel jerry cans had 3 handles, so that the soldiers could carry 2 of them using just 1 hand. They were also designed to be stackable, which made it easy for them to be transported all over the country.
The Allied Forces had similar cans to the Germans, but they were made using thinner steel that was welded together. This meant that they were very prone to leaking and easily punctured. As well as the flaws in the material, the Allied jerry cans needed to be opened with a wrench and required a funnel and spout to dispense the fuel inside.
Image from Carryology.
In contrast, the build quality of the German jerry cans made them far superior. Instead of welding steel, their cans were made from 2 pieces of stamped steel that could interlock, therefore making it impossible for them to leak. The lids were attached to the can and there was no need for funnels and spouts. It’s no wonder that the Americans wanted to take inspiration from them and create their own!
American History Of The Jerry Can
The actual use of the term ‘jerry can’ came once the Americans decided to make their own version of the Wehrmacht-Einheitskanister. ‘Jerry’ was the slang term that the Allies used to refer to the Germans during the war, and so the ‘jerry can’ was born! So, during the war, America started to produce their own designs based on what the Germans started. The big difference is that the American jerry cans were shaped so that they could interlock and stack with both the British and German versions. In 1945, 19,000,000 jerry cans were used to support the US forces!
Modern Use Of The Jerry Can
Today, jerry cans don’t even need to be made of metal. Modern plastics are more than strong to safely carry fuel and other liquids, as well as being lightweight. Modern jerry cans are generally made using HDPE (high-density polyethylene) plastic, which is robust and hardwearing, making it ideal for transporting chemicals. Look out for jerry cans that are UN Certified and food grade approved if you are looking to package either of these types of products.
If you’re in the market to buy jerry cans, then we’ve got plenty of options for you. With capacities ranging from 2.5L to 30L and a multitude of colours available, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for. Our most exciting jerry cans are the OneCans, which feature moulded lugs that allow you to stack the containers safely and ridges on all 4 corners that add extra rigidity and strength. The handle is even ergonomically moulded to make carrying heavy loads more comfortable.
- 2.5L UN Natural Stackable & Din 45 T/E Cap – Get a pallet of 300 units for £315.99 (exc. tax)
- 5L UN Blue Stackable & Din51 T/E Cap – Get a pallet of 200 units for £229.10 (exc. tax)
- 20L UN Black Stackable & Din61 T/E Cap – Get a pallet of 60 units for £164.57 (exc. tax)
- 25L UN Red Stackable & Din61 T/E Cap – Ring 0161 367 9093 for more details and to get a competitive quote!
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