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Drum It Up! Steel Drum Industry News, Trends, and Issues

Posts Tagged ‘45 imperial gallon steel drum’

Oil’s Long History with the 55 Gallon Steel Drum

September 28th, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Cool Stuff

The 55 gallon steel drum is perhaps the most iconic barrel Skolnik produces. Seen in countless movies and TV shows, in real life and in photographs, if you were to ask someone to think of what a barrel looks like, a 55 gallon, or 45 imperial gallon, steel drum would most likely be on their minds. One of the biggest reasons these drums are so inexorably planted into our public consciousness is their use in the oil industry. In fact, the two are so closely associated, that the very unit of measurement one uses to talk about oil is barrels. The two weren’t paired from the start, however. Instead, oil has had a somewhat complicated relationship with the 55 gallon steel drum as industry needs have grown, changed, and evolved throughout years.

First and foremost, the “barrel” unit of measurement did not start with steel, but with wood. In the late 1850s, as oil prospecting in Pennsylvania took off, the prospectors used whatever they had to hold it in, and old wine and whiskey casks turned out to be the best solution on hand. Consequently, barrels were there with oil production from basically the very beginning. In those early days, there were some variances, but by the late 1860s, they sought to standardize. Basing their model off of King Edward IV’s herring industry legislation, they decided to sell oil in 40-gallon units, with an additional good will top-off of 2 gallons; the oil equivalent of a baker’s dozen.

These old wooden casks were not quite up to the same standards of quality as the stainless steel wine barrels we here at Skolnik offer, however. Consequently, improvements were sought out. After some early mass-produced steel containers from John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, in 1905 Nellie Bly designed a solution to the crummier containers. With the capacity of holding 55 gallons and key features such as the ribs that provide rigidity and strength, Bly had crafted a new industry standard with the iconic drums we all know so well.

Even with these new containers though, the oil industry was still seeking to pare down their shipping costs. This led to investing in such things as tanker ships and pipelines, with the goal of eliminating physical barrels entirely. It didn’t help that the dissociation between oil and the 55 gallon drum had already begun. The unit “barrel” was still 42 gallons while the container was 55, so the 55 gallon steel drum kept being pushed farther and farther away from the industry that invented it.

Meanwhile, to improve public perception of the barrels that still existed, oil companies painted the barrels bright colors and adorning them with corporate logos. The beautification initiative worked so well that it’s these barrels from the mid-20th Century that cemented the iconic look for generations to come. It is from this initiative that the evocative blue barrel came from.

By the 1950s, for the most part, tanker trucks, railways and pipelines pushed barrels out of the oil production chain all together. The barrels have instead made the transition into other industries, carrying supplies and materials for countless other products. Consequently, the oil barrel is now little more than a term we use when talking about catastrophic spills or energy outputs. The 55 gallon steel drum, however, is still going strong, and will continue to do so for many years to come.

From 5 Gallons, to 30 Gallons to 110 Gallons — The Many Sizes and Uses of Skolnik Steel Drums

February 2nd, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

Plants, factories and facilities in many industries use steel drums in their processes. There are numerous uses for steel drums in manufacturing plants and industries — some use steel drums for bulk storage, some for transport, some for waste collection, and more. Part of our job at Skolnik is to ensure that our customers are ordering the right size, material and gauge drum for their particular use. Which brings us to our next point — Skolnik manufactures drums that vary in size/volume from 5 gallons to 110 gallons.

How do you know what size is appropriate or efficient for your use? Well, there are a lot of factors that go into choosing the right drum for your unique situation, but here are a few common industries and uses for each of Skolnik’s drum sizes.

5 Gallon — The smallest barrel in the Skolnik product line, our 5 gallon drum comes in carbon steel and stainless steel. The 5 gallon stainless steel drum is most commonly used and recommended for wine making.

8 Gallon — Skolnik makes 8 gallon drums in carbon steel and stainless steel and offers salvage drums in this size. This compact drum is used in a variety of applications — from packaging cosmetics and oils, to storing hazardous materials and military munitions. Small, mighty and UN certified, the 8 gallon drum is a versatile choice for customers who require more mobility from their drums.

10 Gallon — Commercial clients have found numerous uses for the Skolnik 10 gallon drum — available in carbon steel, stainless steel, nitric, salvage drum and overpack options. Wine, dangerous goods, spill containment — the 10 gallon drum has seen it all. These drums are easy to ship or use for storage in facilities that need to be able to easily move storage drums.

15 Gallon —  Manufactured upon request, the 15 gallon drum gives our clients extra flexibility in shipping, containment and storage situations. Our engineers customize 15 gallon steel drums to meet your requirements.

20 Gallon — A convenient size for liquids and solids and less cumbersome for shipping, the Skolnik 20 gallon drum is available in carbon steel, stainless steel, seamless, process, salvage and overpack configurations. Our most popular 20 gallon drum is a salvage drum used for spill control.

30 Gallon — The 30 gallon drum is a dynamic and excellent choice for a wide range of industrial and commercial purposes. Many Skolnik clients use our 30 gallon option to package wine, syrup, pharmaceuticals and more. Small and mobile, but large enough for many shipping and packaging situations, the 30 gallon drum is Skolnik’s ‘goldilocks’ drum. A 30 gallon steel drum, whether made from carbon or stainless steel, is just right for shipping smaller product quantities, shipping more drums to multiple locations or just storing large but manageable quantities of product. Overpack, salvage, type A, seamless, process and wine drum configurations available.

40 Gallon — Manufactured upon request, Skolnik 40 gallon drums are made to your exact specifications — whether your business has commercial products or dangerous goods in need of safe packaging and shipment.

55 Gallon  — The most popular size drum, the 55 US gallon steel drum (or 45 Imperial gallon steel drum) is your best pal for most every packaging, storage and shipping situation. Dangerous goods, combustibles, munitions, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, whatever you need, our engineers can provide you with a Skolnik 55 gallon drum that is ready to serve.

85 Gallon — A bit large, 85 gallon steel drums are more useful for storage use cases than transportation. Our 85 gallon salvage drum recognized as the world product leader for disposing of hazardous materials or containing damaged or non-compliant packages.

110 Gallon — The 110 gallon steel drum is the largest standard drum manufactured by Skolnik. These drums meet all applicable UN and DOT certifications for the transportation of hazardous goods and are most commonly used in overpack and salvage drum uses.


As you can see, there are a vast range of Skolnik steel drums for a vast range of commercial and industrial uses. We don’t play favorites, but the most popular and versatile drums are likely the 30 gallon, 55 gallon and 85 gallon sizes. Contact Skolnik today to discuss your needs and request a quote. We look forward to outfitting you with the strongest, safest and most secure drum for your unique situation.