1-800-441-8780

1-773-735-0700

Industrial Packaging for Critical Contents

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

Posts Tagged ‘55 gallon barrel’

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.

The Many Styles of a 55 Gallon Barrel

April 17th, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

A mid-sized, sturdy container, the 55 gallon barrel or drum is far and away the most common size industrial container. This industrial workhorse can be found in facilities spanning industries and its uses are numerable. It is a favorite for storage and shipment of goods both commercial and hazardous in nature. It is durable, versatile, reusable and, at Skolnik, our customers love it so much that we’ve made it available in several varieties.

Options include:

55 Gallon Carbon Steel Drum — A durable heavy-duty package for storage and transportation of a variety of contents, including hazardous materials. ailable in open and tight head configurations.

55 Gallon 7A Type A Drum — Intended for use as shipping and storage containers for permissible radioactive materials. Available in carbon or stainless steel.

55 Gallon Lever Lock Closure Drum — An easy to seal and re-open drum that eliminates the need for closing tools. Available in open head carbon configurations and salvage styles.

55 Gallon Salvage Drum — Constructed of high quality carbon steel to meet the UN design type requirements for salvage containers. Tested for international standards and ready to go.

55 Gallon TIH (PIH) Overpack Drum — Tested for solids and certified according to UN criteria, these drums qualify as secure outer packaging for overpack situations.

55 Gallon Seamless/Crevice Free Drum — Perfect for situations requiring purity and compatibility of the materials, seamless drums are just that: seamless. Often used to contain acids, metal and pharmaceutical products or in food processing.

55 Gallon Stainless Steel Drum — A classic container, stainless steel drums can outperform carbon steel in terms of corrosion resistance, tensile strength and reusability.

55 Gallon Seamless/Process Drum — These straight-sided, seamless drums are uniquely suited for the pharmaceutical, food processing and personal care industries. They are available in stainless type 304 and 316.

55 Gallon Nitric Drum — These drums demonstrate exceptional resistance to oxidization and nitric acid and are most commonly used as process drums. Their materials and seamless construction enables them to meet high sanitary standards.

55 Gallon Stainless Steel Wine Barrels — For fermentation, aging or storing wines. Stainless steel wine barrels are corrosion resistant, reusable, easy to sanitize and preserve the taste of wines without altering their flavor.

These are some of the drums we currently manufacture in a 55 gallon size. If, for whatever reason, you don’t see a drum that fits the materials or configuration you need, please don’t hesitate to reach out — Skolnik’s engineers are happy to create custom containers that fit your exacting standards. The 55 gallon size barrels and drums are so versatile and useful, the Skolnik team couldn’t resist manufacturing it in a multitude of styles.