Making Tin Can Toys

by Edward Thatcher 1919

Making Tin Can Toys Introduction Part 3

Bend up an angle on each side of a strip of tin, like a channel iron used in buildings; it will sustain a remarkable load. I have used the common forms employed in structural steel for building up the toys shown in this book with the result that they are surprisingly solid and durable, though made entirely from cans or the tin taken from flattened-out cans and boxes. No rough or sharp edges are left about these toys. The edges of a piece of tin may be folded over or "hemmed "- or a folded strip of tin may be slipped over an edge that needs strengthening. Thus all danger of cutting the fingers or of thin edges being bent out of shape is done away with.

Although made of tin, there need be nothing "tinny" about a well-made, well-painted tin can toy. Very few and very simple tools are required for the work and the solder, soldering flux, rivets, wire and paint are very inexpensive items, as so little need be used for each piece produced. Soldering is by far the most important of the operations involved in tin can toy making. But it is very simple, once it is understood. When the principles that govern the process of soldering are thoroughly mastered there is no difficulty at all about it. Chapters IV and V should be thoroughly read and re-read before trying to solder, and at least two practice pieces well soldered together before going any further.

Since the tin can toys were introduced into my classes at college I have taught more than two hundred pupils how to make them. Many of these pupils had little or no experience with tools and had never expected to have any until the war came along and changed the ideas of many people as to their ability to work with their hands. I have yet to encounter a pupil who could not solder after a very short period of instruction. Look at the end of a small olive oil can or the end of a tin commonly used to contain cocoa, then think of the shape of the radiator and hood of the modern automobile. The shape of the can and the shape of the hood of the automobile are very much alike. A few holes punched in the end of the can in regular rows transform it into a miniature radiator in appearance, and some slits cut in the side of the can look very much like the vents in the side of a real auto hood. Solder the cap of a tooth-paste or paint tube in place over the radiator, and the hood and radiator are completed.