Sunday, May 22, 2011

My First Soda Bottle

When I started telling people that I was collecting soda cans, someone offered me a lot of soda bottles.  I had to turn them down, one collection at a time is enough!  And when I go to flea markets or antique shops, there aren't a lot of cans usually but there are a lot of bottles.  But I have resisted.

While at my sister's today, I was taking a tour of her tornado-damaged shed and noticed a dirty bottle on one of the shed's shelves.  I scraped off some of its crust and saw it was an old Nehi soda bottle.  She had found it among the trash scattered across her many acres of land when she bought the place.  She asked if I wanted it.  This time I had to accept.

I really have no plans, or desire, to start collecting bottles, but I felt this was a good piece to add to my collection anyway.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Cache of Cans (part 2)

As if today's can expedition to the flea market wasn't enough (see the post below this one), I decided this was a good evening to return to the can cache I found earlier this week in an alley.  But this time I would go alone.  And I had collected a bag of cans (doubles, dented, etc) that I didn't need, so this time I would replace any cans that I took.

Again, I knocked on his door to let him know I was there, and again he wasn't there.  So I had to talk to his wife again.  I can only imagine what she was thinking, especially when I told her I brought cans to replace any that I took.  "Whatever."

When I got back to his garage, that's when I saw that he doesn't have a few trash cans but about a dozen full of cans!  How long has he been collecting cans?  And how long was this going to take me?  I was able to get through every tub and trash can in about an hour.  And tonight's take was a whopping sixty-one cans that I didn't have!!!  Maybe some day I'll actually get to talk to him and thank him for his contributions to my collection.

My First Steel Cans

You just don't find steel cans lying on the side of the road or see your friends/family drinking from them any more.  So I have only collected aluminum cans so far.  But that changed today when we went to a local monthly flea market.  This was the first time I had been to this particular flea market since I started collecting cans.  And it's SO big that I figured there had to be cans there somewhere.

The first soda can I found for sale was a little flat top can whose top had been completely removed.  I really wanted it because it came from the city where I was born, about an hour from where I live now.  But when he told me he wanted $10 for it, I kept on walking.

My second encounter was a set of twenty-four RC Cola baseball player cans from the 70's (series 1 came out in 1977 and series 2 came out in 1978, I didn't know enough about them at the time so I didn't notice which series they were).  The guy wanted $30 for them.  I kept walking, but I was still thinking about them.  I decided if he would take $25 I would take them off his hands.  A little while later I returned to him and said, "How about $25?"  He replied, "How about $35?  If you can go down then I can go up."  He wasn't funny.  He proceeded to tell me he usually asks $45 so at $30 he was giving them away.  But not to me.  I walked away.  Update - In the weeks to come I would get a much better deal on RC Cola baseball cans, but that's another story...

My first three steel cans
I found another stand that had a little bit of everything, and buried among the everything was a steel Dad's Root Beer can, a steel Mission Root Beer can and a steel IBC Root Beer can.  Each was $1, now that's a price I was willing to pay.  It felt strange holding a heavy, steel can.  It's hard to remember ever drinking from cans like that, I'm so used to the light aluminum cans we have now.  And seeing the familiar shape of the hole where the pull top had been removed stirred up some memories.  I have a feeling this is just the beginning of steel cans in my collection.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My First eBay Can Purchase

When I decided to collect soda cans last month, the plan was to ask for cans from friends and family (since our household doesn't really drink soda), pick them up along the sides of the road or possibly stumble into caches of cans at family reunions, parks or other places I visit.  This was going to be a fun and free hobby.

So I just received my first eBay can purchase today.  Oops.  But I couldn't pass these up, check 'em out.  Back in the summer of 1987, Detroit was chosen as a test market for an alternative to the aluminum soda can... the plastic soda can.  The advantage of the plastic can was that plastic is simple to recycle.  But the disadvantage to this plastic can design was that it still had an aluminum lid, thus making recycling actually harder because the metal had to be separated from the plastic.

But for that summer, the people of Detroit could enjoy five New York Seltzer soda flavors:  black cherry, lemon & lime, peach, raspberry and root beer.  The plastic can concept was soon abandoned and the New York Seltzer soda discontinued. 

So last weekend I found an auction that had all five flavors of New York Seltzer soda in plastic cans.  I hit the purchase button and knew my collection would forever be different.  I received the cans today.  They did not disappoint.  And they weigh even less than I expected.

You can read a Los Angeles Times article about the cans here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Cache of Cans

Last night on the way to my kids' softball and tee ball games, they saw an alley they've never been down and wanted me to take it as an alternate route to the ball fields.  I said we would go down the alley on the way home.  So after the games, I took them down the alley.  And what did I see lying next to a garage in that alley?  A couple of tubs of soda cans.  I have known the guy who lives there for many years.  I stopped and did a quick look through a few cans and saw some I didn't have.  I grabbed eight cans and we headed home.  Remember, kids, it's wrong to steal!

I had to get back there.  So tonight, after my son's tee ball game, we went down the same alley.  This time I knocked on the guy's door to ask if I could look through his cans.  I knew he wouldn't mind, but I wanted him to know I was there.  Well, he wasn't home, so I had to ask his wife (who I've never met before) if I could dig through her husband's cans.  She gave me a strange look but said it was ok.  Not only were there the tubs but also some large trash cans full of aluminum cans.  I was having a great time but my son wasn't as thrilled.  And then he spoke the dreaded words, "I have to go to the bathroom."  So that ended tonight's digging.  Tonight's take was seventeen cans. 

I was able to get through the tubs and a few trash cans, but I know there are more cans to be had, so I will be back...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Holy Moly! Where Did You Get That Can?

I was at the park a few weeks ago with the kids and I found a Diet Coke can I didn't have.  It was the normal silver can but it showed a guy holding a large white flag with a red heart on it.  The only problem was the can was dented up pretty good.  But my view on damaged cans is it's better to have a damaged can of a new design than not have the design at all.  Plus, I have replaced many damaged cans later with cans in better condition.  So I'm always watching for "upgrades" in addition to new cans.

So this morning in Sunday School I noticed an elderly woman drinking from a can of Diet Coke.  I turned on my Eagle Eye and waited for the can to turn its other side to me so I could see exactly which design it was.  Finally she set it down and I could see the man holding the big white flag with a red heart on it... an undented specimen!  I continued to monitor the woman's progress on the soda out of the corner of my eye throughout the class.  At the end of the class, I stalled by talking to a couple of people, waiting to see what would become of the can.  And then I saw her throw it away in a nearby trash can.  That can was as good as mine.

"I need a drink of water," I whispered to my wife during the church service about forty-five minutes later.  So I strolled down to the basement, scouting the area for unknowing passersby, and took a drink from the fountain.  No one was around.  I bolted to the trash can, reached in and pulled out today's treasure.  I took it to the nearby kitchen and washed it real good, then made a quick dash to the van parked outside.

"Ah, I feel better now," I whispered to my wife as I sat back down in the pew.  She smiled and I smiled back, knowing I had just scored a nice upgrade!

Monday, May 2, 2011

My First Shorty

I have picked up cans from different towns, even as far as an hour away where I work.  So when I saw a can earlier this evening just two blocks from my house, it gave me the impression that cans were finally coming to me

[side story:  The closest I have found a can to my house was in the alley behind my back yard.  I was at the kitchen sink one morning and I looked out across the yard and there lay a glorious Dr Thunder can glinting in the sunlight.  I quickly grabbed it before anyone else did.]

The kids were with me when I found this evening's can.  The end of it was stuck down in some mud on the side of the road, but I could tell it was a root beer can.  But to my surprise, when I pulled it from the mud, it was a short 8 oz. can.  I knew there were smaller soda cans, but I had never held one before.  So we took the new find home, gave it a good bath, and it was the first of many 8 oz. "stubbies" to come.

Walmart brand root beer