For many reasons, the German designed fuel can, known as the Jerry can, has become the most popular and most copied fuel container ever made. And for good reasons!!! For all of these reasons, it has become my favorite and most reliable way to carry extra fuel. The history of the Jerry can is a fascinating one and easily found by a quick search on the internet. In particular, an excellent history can be found at Carryology (http://www.carryology.com/utility/carry ... -jerrycan/
). Briefly, it began in the 1930' as the German Nation was preparing for it's many aggressions which would follow. From the Carryology website:
The Jerry can was developed in Germany in the 1930’s for military use. Wars are won and lost with resources. One of the most important resources being fuel. That fuel must be efficiently stored and transported to aide the soldiers and war machines on the front lines. No fuel and the tanks don’t roll. No tanks and the war is lost.
This picture offers some idea of the importance of the Jerry can in the war effort, (From the Carryology website):
The superiority of the Jerry can, as a fuel container, was recognized by the allies, who eventually adopted the design. It was easy to see why the design was adopted, especially when you consider the inferior containers that were in use at that time. The Brits fuel container was called a "flimsy", and for good and obvious reasons. They looked like this:
The advantages of the German designed Jerry can are numerous:
1. They held about 25% more fuel than the Flimsies
2. They were significantly more sturdy and robust than the Flimsies or any other fuel container of the time
3. No tool or other device was necessary to access the contents
4. The cam-lever lid mechanism was integrated into the can so it couldn’t be misplaced and was extremely efficient in preventing leaks.
5. Expansion of the can, in warm temps, is minimal due to steel construction
6. The design of the can allows for vapor and liquid expansion during warm temps.
Here is a excellent description of the benefits of the 3 handle design of the German Jerry Can (from the Carryology website) :
First, it had three comfortable rounded stamped handles. This allowed the cans to be passed down the line from one soldier to the next to the next in bucket-brigade fashion, as one soldier would use the far-sided handle to hand over the exposed free handle on the other far side, rapidly and easily exchanging hands down the line.
One soldier could use the single center handle to comfortably carry a single can with each hand, while maintaining their balance walking over the battlefield’s rough terrain.
If the soldier was strong, they could grab the two edge handles of two cans that were next to each other with one hand. Thus, allowing them to carry four filled Jerrycans at once. If they weren’t so buff, they could still carry four empty cans without any problem. Full or empty, it would have been impossible for one soldier to carry four flimsies – the Jerrycan allowed for both.
The most fascinating thing about the German design, is that these advantages still make this fuel carrier, the very best design, even today. There are many copies of this can, including ones adopted by the military, but they are all using the the German Jerry can design.