Dating solder top cans
Since we know when the site was active, and the cans have a familiar shape, we can guess that these are tobacco cans.
In fact, you can go into a tobacco store and still see tobacco sold in cans like these. Different construction techniques were used at different times.
Another solution was to deposit the pulled tab in the can.
For example, these cans at left were found at the Lahontan site.
While the first cans were opened with whatever tools were available- preferably a hammer and chisel- later cans were opened with tools specifically made for that purpose.
Early cans used metal too thick for "normal" can openers to open.
The "wheel style" opener we are all used to wasn't thought up until the mid 1920's.
Click here to see a small sample of the many can opening devices developed between the middle of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth.