Identifying vintage cans is relatively easy if you know what to look for. The cans have a heavy steel construction, unlike the lightweight aluminium cans of today. They can also be identified by the type of top they have. The Felinfoel can at left is a good example of a vintage cone top can. Another type of vintage can is the flat top beer can. A flat top was an early can which required a special opener which was used to puncture holes in the top in order to get the beer out. It was not until 1962 that the ring pull was devised, so all cans prior to the invention of the ring pull would be considered vintage cans.
The Metal Box Company was the principal manufacturer of vintage beer cans in the British Isles. Some designs were manufactured in England to be exported to other countries such as the Amstel 9 2/3 ounce flat top for Holland and the Castle 9 2/3 ounce flat top for Rhodesia. Metal Box had a virtual monopoly in British beer can production from 1936 to the late 1960's. Thankfully, many Metal box employees saved examples of early beer cans or unrolled flat sheets, which has been very helpful in helping to identify many of the cans which were produced and can be enjoyed by collectors today.