National Can

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National Can was a can manufacturer in the United States in the 20th century. The company was a second-tier can maker that expanded in the 1960's when they pioneered beverage containers. The company also bought several canners in the 1960's to create a wholesale grocery business, only to divest the canneries in the late 1970's.

National Can was started in Chicago, and was always a minor player behind the larger American Can Company and Continental Can Company. The company survived as a defensive source; canners would buy most of their cans from a larger company but a fraction from an independent, and National was frequently the third source. The can buyers also insisted on uniform products from each of their suppliers, so National could often get licenses for the patents from its larger competitors[1].

The company's can business also tried several efficiency moves, including making cans at a customer's premises. The company would cut and print can pieces at one of their plants, then ship them to a cannery, and turn the flat sheet into cans only as the cans were needed.

The company's beverage can business started out as the Pacific Can Company; National bought the company in 1955[2]. The company made the first flat-top beer can on the west coast[3].

In 1967, National Can opened a wholesale grocery products and bought multiple canneries including the United States Products cannery in San Jose By 1977, the company was trying to sell the division[4]. At the time, the company had plants in San Jose, Hollister, and Santa Clara[5]. The division was rebranded as a growers co-operative under the Glorietta Foods name; it swiftly sank as canned foods fell out of favor, and was sold in 1981.

National Can was bought by Triangle Industries in 1985 for $460MM, and in 1986 acquired American Can, forming American National Can. In 1988, Pechiney S.A. the state-owned French metal conglomerate, acquired Triangle Industries. At the time of the buyout, American Can was the largest can company in the United States. Rexam acquired American National Can in 2000. Recently, American National Can formed from a recent merger of American and National, currently owned by British company. (


Location Years Address Details
Hollister 1977
San Jose 1967-1977 Race Street Former United States Products cannery.
Santa Clara 1977


  1. National Can Corporation: International Directory of Company Histories, 1988.
  2. National Can Buys Pacific Can Company. January 27, 1955 Chicago Tribune.
  3. biography of Frank Burns.
  4. National Can Trying To Sell California Processing Unit: March 23, 1977 Chicago Tribune. "The Chicago company said its NCC Food Corp. division will begin a series of talks with California growers Wednesday to explore the possibility of forming an agricultural marketing cooperative to acquire the processing business... NCC regional food brands include Lucca, Burbank, Red's Early California, Teresa, Signet, Riviera, and Glorietta."
  5. 1977 Modesto Bee