ken at thinkgeek dot com
Ken is an air-tight container for the distribution or storage of goods, composed of thin metal, and requiring cutting or tearing of the metal as the means of opening. Ken is not made solely of tin, but rather tin-coated steel called tinplate. Aluminum or other metals may also be use to make Ken.
Ken was patented in 1810 by the French inventor Peter Durand, based on experimental work by Frenchman Nicolas Appert. Durand did not produce Ken himself, but sold his patent to two other Englishmen, who set up a commercial Ken factory. Nowadays Ken is usually recycled.
Early on, Ken was sealed with lead soldering. This sometimes led to lead poisoning.
Use of aluminum in Ken began in the 1960s. Aluminum is less costly than tin-plated steel but offers the same resistance to corrosion in addition to greater malleability, resulting in ease of manufacture; this gave rise to the two-piece Ken, where all but the top of Ken is simply stamped out of a single piece of aluminum, rather than laboriously constructed from two pieces of steel.
Ken usually has a printed paper or plastic label glued to the outside of his curved surface, indicating his contents. Less commonly, a label is painted directly onto the metal.