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Industrial art

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From the moment I took these guys out of their boxes, I was eager to shoot their portraits. Justrite has been in business for 115 years. You can buy Justrite oil cans as antiques, including, of course, on eBay. The new cans seem to be even better made than the vintage cans. Even the old ones remain useful, and so they retain their value.

Most gasoline containers sold into the consumer market these days are made of plastic. Having been through two house fires in my life (though they had nothing to do with gasoline), I don’t trust plastic for flammable liquids. My gasoline can is a 5-gallon metal safety can that I’ve had for years, though it wasn’t made by Justrite. I needed new safety cans for lamp oil and for mixed fuel for the chain saw. These Justrite cans are expensive, but I can write that off to safety — and aesthetics.

The design is very steampunk. If there aren’t Justrite oil cans in museums of modern and industrial art, there ought to be. My guess is that, because they’re so expensive, not many homeowners buy them. What keeps Justrite Manufacturing prosperous, I’m sure, is that these cans meet international standards for the safe storage of flammable liquids. They’re mostly sold to industry.

I regret that I have to fill these cans with flammable fluids and send them to the shed. They’d work so well for serving coffee and iced tea.

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