19 November 2020

It's a film canister..... oh, never mind


I recently went into an actual physical store, and decided to pay for my purchase with exact change.  When I took the above item out of my pocket, the clerk asked me what it was.  I said it was a "repurposed film canister," which elicited only a blank stare.  I instantly realized that this young teen had absolutely no idea what a film canister (or film) is, so I explained that it was a little "doodad" that keeps change from rattling in my pocket.  She smiled and said "That's cool."

I have a bunch of them around the house, storing spare buttons in the clothes closet and screws etc on the workbench and seeds in the garage.  They will outlast me; I need to decide which of my young relatives will be lucky enough to inherit them.

Addendum:  scroll down through the comments to find a link about how to build a film canister rocket.  And this link offers a comprehensive look at film cannons (hat tip to reader chemsolver).

29 comments:

  1. I use a repurposed mini M&Ms container. Holds more and has an attached lid, but also more prone to popping open. I'll bet you could brand your film canisters and set up a nice little side-hustle. ;)

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  2. it's time to start throwing things away. Extra points if you remember which brand the one in the photo was from and it's not Kodak

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    1. I don't remember the brand. I know the majority of the ones I have are simple black, so those were probably the Kodak Ektachromes. So what does that leave from the 1970s? Fuji ??

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    2. Black with a gray cap was Kodak
      Clear was/is Fuji.
      Either could enough weed to make half a dozen good joints.

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  3. i use one like that for the same purpose. works great!

    I-)

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  4. I was thinking the german brand cannot remember name

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  5. Agfa was the one I was thinking of (could not remember the name) they were clear tubes

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  6. I worked in a photo processing store while I was in college. Sometimes at night, just before closing we'd get guys with very red eyes coming in asking if we had any extra film containers "for storing spices". They were always pretty stoked when I'd give them a double handful.

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    1. LOL. I used them for that too. Thanks for the reminder.

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  7. Don't throw them away! These things are like gold to a geocacher. They are waterproof, perfect size for hiding on its own or for keeping a log dry in a larger container, and they are durable. The clear ones are nice because the are easy to paint.

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    1. I was coming here to state that! yay geocaching!

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    2. when you run out of the film canisters, look into glucose test strip canisters. as a type 1 diabetic i generate a lot of them. and there's a demand amongst my family and friends for them once the labels are peeled off. very good for small parts storage and pocket thing-containers. i bet they would be good for geocaching as well.

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    3. Yep, those glucose test strip canisters are very popular with geocachers. Geocaching.com (aka Groundspeak) sells them on their website, though they are much cheaper through amazon.

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  8. I use mine to store my rechargeable AA and AAA batteries in.

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  9. perfect for quarters for the laundromat/parking meters/pool matches etc. I miss these, and the prescription medication vials that serve the same function. (the new ones have a narrower top that makes them less re-purposeable)

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    1. I always keep one in my car full of quarters!

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  10. That gave me a smile. We used to use the black ones with a grey lid. They were good for storing spices. Also good for keeping garden and wildflower seeds. Don't forget to label them. For some reason i was talking about these things with my caregiver the other day. She said wow that is so oldschool!

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    1. “Wildflowers.” Not the seeds I was putting into mine in the 80’s.

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  11. When I realized film was phasing out I hit our local wally film processing center and cleaned them out a couple of times. I use them for an endless amount of things, crafts, sewing, daily pill combos (ugh), more things than I can think of. Just wish I had more as they do wear out or break. I just wonder how many are in landfills now?

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  12. My favorite use for them is teaching my 8th grade physical science students about chemical reactions. We make mini-bottle rockets out of them on the school lawn each fall. Just add water and an Alka-Seltzer tablet, put the lid on TIGHT and stand waaaaaaaayyyyyy back!
    Oddly enough, the white ones really do seem to work better than the black ones with the gray lids.
    The kids get super excited about it and then inevitably get upset when they realize that almost the only place to get these now is to order them off places like Amazon. The few with relatives like you who still have a stash come in the next morning bragging and are suddenly some of the most popular kids in the class (at least temporarily!).

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    1. Just curious: after loading the reagents, do you place the canister lid down on pavement? If it were upright it would probably just blow the lid off, which would be less awesome.

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    2. About 20 years ago I did hypothesis testing with 1) some budding teenage scientists 2) a bunch of film canisters some black / some clear 3) pellets of dry-ice.
      Do black canisters pop their lids consistently faster than clear because they heat up quicker? Null hypothesis = same time. Answer = absolute chaos. Luckily nobody lost an eye.
      With ready access to dry-ice, it was also a mildly amusing party trick to have a loaded film-can in your pocket. If you looked innocent it was hard for people to locate the source of the >!pop!< and the jape could be repeated at intervals.

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  13. https://sciencebob.com/build-a-film-canister-rocket/

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  14. Minnesotan: yes, you do put them lid down after loading the reagents. We have had a couple clear the roof of a one-story building, but most are more in the 4-6ft range.

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  15. I can't be the only one to use these to store pot in... air and watertight yet unobtrusive? They were perfect!

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  16. OMG I do have to chip in here:
    <1> Those film canisters were INVALUABLE to store the chemicals I procured from different sources (I rember you well Mr. Pharmacis, Mr. Drugist and Mr Chem teacher...). My teenage chemistry career was very much enhanced by those inert, light-tight containers. Perfect size too. BTW I did study to become a chemist just in case you wondered :-)
    <2> I may refer the interested audience to Mr Simon Quellen Field who published the by now already legendary "Film Canister Canon" How-To:
    https://sci-toys.com/scitoys/scitoys/thermo/thermo2.html
    I can emphatically recommend his book: Gonzo Gismos...


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    1. those plastic film canisters are the right size in which put the spare set of house keys that you hide outside in the secret hiding place.

      I-)

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