The History of the Eagle Oil Can

The History of the Eagle Oil Can

The Eagle Glass and Manufacturing Company was established on January 1, 1894, in Wellsburg, West Virginia, by three brothers. James Paull, Harry W. Paull, and Samuel O. Paull started the company when they purchased a small glass factory in Wellsburg from the Wheeling Lamp and Stamping Company.

The Company was incorporated in 1897, and the original certificate of incorporation was for the stated purpose of manufacturing, buying, and selling a variety of glassware. Some of the first products manufactured by Eagle were opal disks used to line the insides of Mason fruit jar caps.

In the early 1900s, Eagle added a metal manufacturing department to its operations. Initially, the metal department manufactured lids for the glass jars that were the central element of Eagle’s productions in the early years. In 1907 the company began to produce welded steel cans for railroad, quarry, and factory use. These cans were initially produced in six sizes ranging from one-half to 5-gallons.

By 1921, Eagle’s metal department was larger than its glass department. The metal plant would go on to become the largest manufacturer of metal oil cans in the United States during the 1920s. Eagle dropped the word “Glass” from its name in 1918 to become The Eagle Manufacturing Company. Because of the depletion of natural gas, the company’s glass production steadily declined until it finally sold the majority of its glass manufacturing operations to the Hazel-Atlas Glass Company in 1923.

During the depression era, Eagle suffered many of the economic hardships that businesses all over the country faced. Thankfully, because of its savvy leadership and innovative shipping methods, Eagle managed to weather the 1930s until the production boom that World War II brought about.




The Mid-20th Century

Eagle produced many products sold to the federal government during the early 1940s as a part of the war effort. Notably, Eagle manufactured the welded-steel bench oilers used on U.S. Army jeeps, tanks, trucks, and naval vessels.

In the 1950s, Eagle added a pump oiler to complement its already successful oiler product line. By the late 1950s, the “Handi-Grip” oilers expanded the pump oiler line by adding four new sizing options. Eagle also added a galvanized-steel gasoline and oil container to its inventory. These new gas and oil containers featured fewer seams than previous models and were the industry-leading gasoline container used with gasoline-powered equipment of the 1950s and 1960s.

Towards the end of the 1950s, Eagle launched its “A-Series” gas and oil containers that featured neoprene spouts, vent clip caps, and oil measures. The A-Series containers became one of the most successful products ever produced by Eagle. The containers were rated for a lifespan of over 30 years and still commanded a sizable share of the market well into the 1980s.

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Safety Cans

The Late-20th Century

The Late 20th century brought challenges to Eagle that the company had not seen since the depression. The federal government enacted a series of price-control policies that led to material shortages that threatened Eagle’s manufacturing operations. With the advent of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1970, Eagle was spending an ever-increasing amount of money in an attempt to satisfy new regulatory requirements.

The combination of fuel shortages, reduced availability of materials, and increased spending on regulatory compliance in the 1970s would, ultimately, lead to a restructuring at the beginning of the next decade. In the 1980s, Eagle introduced blow-molded plastic gas and oil containers. The cost of producing plastic containers was significantly less than metal containers, and so Eagle launched its first line of plastic fuel containers in 1986.

Eagle continued its shift from metal to plastic in the 1990s with the launch of 18 new blow-molded plastic containers, including new lines of gas and oil, safety, and oil-waste product containers. Once the most widely recognizable oil can in the country, the Eagle oil can nearly went extinct in the 1970s. The 1990s, however, saw Eagle’s flagship product come roaring back with the release of its new line of plastic gas and oil containers.




The Current Landscape

Today, the Eagle Manufacturing Company is still the industry leader in producing gas cans. Since its first appearance over 50 years ago, the Eagle safety can remains one of our flagship products. Eagle’s safety cans are some of the most widely recognized oil and gas storage items currently on the market.

Our Type I and Type II safety cans are used to store a wide range of flammable liquids, including gasoline, kerosene, diesel, and more. These safety cans are designed to meet OSHA and NFPA Code 30 requirements, and they are UL and ULC listed, and FM Approved for safe storage and handling of flammable liquids.

Eagle’s line of metal safety cans offer compliance solutions for a variety of applications such as stainless-steel gas cans, lab cans, faucet cans, disposal cans, plunger, bench and daub cans, and poly oily waste and biohazard containers. Not only are Eagle’s safety cans designed to provide regulatory compliance, but they will also help to keep your personnel and facilities protected.

Whether you are looking for a safety can that will store flammable liquids like gasoline or a lab-rated container that can safely store corrosive liquids, Eagle has the equipment you need to store hazardous materials safely. Take a look at our extensive line of metal safety cans and find the product that is best suited to your needs today.


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