I picked up a few things at a recent auction. Among them was an old tin ham can with some stuff in it. Sunday my neighbor came over and it was still sitting on the table in the playhouse. We proceeded to have a lengthy discussion of all the uses our families had for this versatile container. Both our parents and grandparents hung onto these little gems after we had removed and eaten the ham.

Here's a few things I recall using an old ham can for. I remember my parents pouring paint into it. It was much easier to dab the paint on the brush and force out the old paint with this can than the paint can itself with the narrow opening. In fact my old can I bought has traces of paint inside it. Apparently the original owner did the same. These old cans were also handy for after painting. Pour a bit of gas in one and you'd have a convenient paint brush cleaner. Swish the brush in the gas and then squeeze it out by running it over the edge of the can.

My great aunt and uncle Mable and John were the hillbillies in our family. They lived in the woods of northern Wisconsin in a two room un-modern cabin. I can still picture uncle John using an old ham can as a spittoon. Plenty wide and hard to miss the mark.

My grandfather kept an old ham can in his living room and used it for his cigar ashes. Again the wide opening cut down the odds of missing. Grandpa lost his wife young and lived many years by himself, so that's how he got away with an old ham can in the living room.

I can also recall old ham cans around the farm being used as water dishes for the cats and dogs. Grandpa would haul up leftovers from his place to the farm in old ham cans for our pets. They were also handy for storing nails and screws.

Did your family save ham cans and reuse them?

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