American Can Company

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The American Can Company was a manufacturer of tin cans. It was a member of the Tin Can Trust, that controlled a "large percentage of business in the United States in tin cans, containers, and packages of tin."[1] American Can Company ranked 97th among United States corporations in the value of World War II military production contracts.[2] During its peak of productivity, the American Can Company employed up to 800 people from the surrounding neighborhoods. It was a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average from 1959–1991, though after 1987 it had renamed itself Primerica, a financial conglomerate which had divested itself of its packaging arm in 1986.

Primerica, after it was merged with Sanford I. Weill's Commercial Credit Company, would form the basis of what would become Citigroup.

The American Can Company had its headquarters at the Pershing Square Building in Manhattan, New York City until 1970, when it moved into a Greenwich, Connecticut facility, which had been developed on 150 acres (61 ha) of wooded land in the late 1960s. In the early 1980s American Can renamed itself and ended its operations in Greenwich.[3]


The American Can Company was incorporated in 1901.[4]

In 1904, the American Can Company of Greenwich, Connecticut bought the small Norton Can Company that had operated since 1887 at York and Bay Streets (Toronto, Ontario). The company expanded further in 1908 when it bought the Sanitary Can Company of Niagara Falls and the Acme Can Works in Montreal. For many years, the American Can Company was Canada’s largest producer of tin cans [5]

In 1957, Dixie cup merged with the American Can Company. The James River Corporation of Virginia purchased American Can's paper business in 1982. The assets of James River are now part of Georgia-Pacific, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, the second largest privately owned company in the United States.[6]

In 1985, Nelson Peltz's New York-based Triangle Industries bought the National Can Company for $460 million. The same year, it acquired the Dunham's Sports athletic store chain and made it part of its retail sector, which also included Musicland and Fingerhut.[7]

In 1986, it acquired the packaging division of Gerald Tsai's American Can Company for $570 million.

In 1987 American Can announced that it would change its 86-year-old name to "Primerica".[8]

In 1988, Pechiney S.A., the French metal conglomerate, acquired Triangle Industries. At the time of the buyout, American National Can was the largest can company in the United States.[9] Rexam acquired American National Can`s metal can business in 2000.

American Can was formed as Phoenix Can commenced upon a Mergers and Acquisition program to consolidate competitors and named the newly created entity American Can.


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  1. ^ "Government Sues American Can Co.; Seeks Dissolution Of $88,000,000 Corporation In Anti-Trust Action At Baltimore. Wants It Split Into Units Petition Opposes Separation On Pro Rata Basis;- Head Of Concern Feels Sure Of Victory". The New York Times. November 30, 1913. Retrieved 2008-04-15. Suit was filed here today in the United States District Court to dissolve the American Can Company, the so-called Tin Can Trust, which the Department of Justice alleges controls a large percentage of business of the United States in tin cans, containers, and packages of tin.
  2. ^ Peck, Merton J. & Scherer, Frederic M. The Weapons Acquisition Process: An Economic Analysis (1962) Harvard Business School p.619
  3. ^ Lueck, Thomas J. "Vacated Corporate Headquarters Scatter the Suburban Landscape." The New York Times. December 7, 1992. A1, New York Edition. Retrieved on January 5, 2009.
  5. ^ "American Can Company". Workers Arts and Heritage Centre. 2022. Retrieved 7 October 2022.
  6. ^ "Dixie Cup Company History". Lafayette College Libraries, Easton, PA August 1995. August 1995. Archived from the original on 2011-11-12. Retrieved 7 October 2022.
  7. ^ "COMPANY BRIEFS". The New York Times. February 13, 1985. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  8. ^ "American Can Picks a Name". The New York Times. 1987-03-07. Retrieved 2008-01-26.
  9. ^ Greenhouse, Steven (November 22, 1988). "French Agree to Buy American Can's Parent". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-15. Pechiney will also assume Triangle's approximately $2 billion in debt, a good part of it stemming from Triangle's acquisition strategy. In 1985, the New York-based company bought the National Can Company for $460 million and in 1986 it acquired the American Can Company for $570 million.
  10. ^ My father worked there as an electrical engineer and designer.
  11. ^ "American Can Company to become 202 condos; may see 600 in total". Jersey City Reporter. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2008-04-15. ... American Can Company located between Dey Street and St. Paul's Avenue ... The American Can Company was spread over a series of five buildings on St. Paul's Avenue. Only two of the five buildings will be turned into the 202 units right now, although another 398 units may be built in the other three buildings in future phases.
  12. ^ Multhopp, Jennifer. "Lubec: A Border Town Shaped by the Sea". Maine Memory Network. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  13. ^ "American Can Company, Lubec, ca. 1935". Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  14. ^ "American Can to Reopen Plant". Nashua Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-08-15. ... many of the workers will come from American Can's plant in Needham Heights, Mass. which will close the end of this year.
  15. ^ "American Can to Reopen Plant". Nashua Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-08-15. ... it will resume operations here next April ... The Portland plant was phased out on Oct. 31, 1973 after 53 years of operation ... .

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