Antique Metal Sakura Film Canisters
Back in the day, people didn’t have access to fancy film cases like the ones I make. They had a much more basic and simple way of storing film. They used metal film canisters. And I have some for you. Check them out.
A long time ago, a company that you all know as Konica still made film. In fact, Konica was one of the big film makers in Japan, manufacturing film from the 1930’s onwards. They used the name Sakura for their film and other products. In fact, the first camera that they released was called the Cherry.
Back when 35mm roll was relatively new thing, most film came in a metal canister for protection from light and the elements. All of the film makers did it, and they must have made millions of them. But they were a disposable product and many were just thrown away. Which is why these are all the more special, as they are sill here and still usable.
I love the red and yellow colour combo on these and the matching tape that was presumably used to seal the canister to stop any extra light getting in. Konica and the other makers stopped making these canisters back in the 1970’s after it became cheaper to make them from plastic. It is a shame, but the inevitable march of progress is relentless and companies will always o for the cheaper option.
So, why the history lesson JCH? well, because I have some of these and there are two things that I want to share with you about them. The first one is that they are for sale.
Yes, I am selling these gorgeous little canisters in the shop. You can get one by clicking here. I only have a very limited number of them and they will sell quickly, especially because each one will come with a random roll of film inside (sorry, no Sakura film).
And the second is that I want to make these and I want to know what you guys think? I think it would be really cool to make something like this again and have a modern classic JCH metal film canister. Perhaps with my logo on the top…hahaha.
So, please check them out in the shop and tell me your thoughts on me making them. Is this something you would like to see? What would your idea for it be? Let me know in the comments below.
I’d love a modern version of these, but in a more understated color scheme.
Love these! And would also love an updated version. Would different colour schemes be a possibility? I like the yellow/red combo but I think a black/white/grey scheme would be nice too.
Metal 35mm film containers are a great idea. The big problem with modern plastic equivalents is that they are translucent! The whole point is to block light, and metal does that best. On the rare occasion when my bulk loaded cassettes loosen up or come undone, I need a light tight place to put them until I can develop. I’d be a buyer at 5 for $15US. (I use two of the 120 plastic cases. The fit and finish were great.)
I’d love to see a resurgence of the metal 135 film can – the gaudier the better! But don’t use the “jch” lettering on the top ; use the “Bellamy head” logo! ;)
I vote yes! I like the ones you make now but I will never have the need for 10 rolls on me at once so i dont have noe. The most ive ever had was 3-4 on me at one time. I also vote that you put JCH on the top. I really like the “bellamy head” logo with script. it would fit nicely with the round top as well. It is your company after all.
Some JCH metal canisters would be nice. Was looking at your 120 plastic cases yesterday and they are far more practical than your otherwise excellent 35mm one. By only having the one row it makes them infinitely more pocketable. Any chance of you doing an updated version of the 35mm with just the one row (subsequently holding half the amount of rolls?
I am a new reader of this site but I think that if you did make this again that would be awesome. One for 35, another for 135 &120 too then that would be awesome. Also if you could make a metal version of your ten holder plastic film container then that would be awesome.
What about making them out of lead so that they could protect film going through airport metal detectors? The bags don’t work, some random metal objects might not make security turn up the intensity to see through them.
Having looked at the cans, they could be made quite cheaply in aluminium by a process called impact extrusion – this is the best way, and the tooling is not too expensive. Metal marker pen bodies are made in this way.
Hope this helps!
I would also consider the old Kodak metal cans, which were spectacular. I suspect that it will be difficult for this to be cost effective though, and second the previous idea of a 35mm half case that holds 5 rolls, like the excellent 120 cases.
Consider buying a few antique ones of different brands (from eBay and the like) and study their design as a way to inform your own. Some things to think about are: How sharp are the edges of the can and the lid, and how are the less-sharp ones made that way? Are the cans stackable on a shelf? (The Sakura convex-topped ones look like not; flat-topped ones would.) Threaded lid or friction-mount? (Sakura appear the latter.) I think the Kodak ones with threaded convex lids are sexier, but stackability would be nice. Cool project!