LATE 1600s, first British tinplate manufacture on a commercial scale carried out by Hanbury, of Pontypool. Tinplate was used for vessels, plates and so on.
Early 1700s, rolling of sheet replaced laborious hammering by Hanbury.
1719, first West Wales works at Kidwelly.
1750, first Swansea works in Ynyspenllwch (Clydach) by Miers family, big London tinplate merchants (Miers Street, St Thomas).
Late 1700s, Napoleon needed to preserve food for his armies, and vacuum sealing was invented by Apperta
Early 1800s, British develop use of tinplate for food canning, and Wellington adopts canned beef for army use.
From 1820s/1830s, works built in west Glamorgan. Use of steam power and coal instead of water power and charcoal hastens this trend.
1845, works open at Upper Fforest (Morriston), 1846 Dafen (Llanelli), 1850 Ferry (Briton Ferry), 1851 Landore and so on.
1860s American Civil War, followed by opening up of the American west, creates demand for canned food and the setting up of big canning plants in Chicago and Argentina fuelling demand in Europe for corned beef, sardines, peaches and so on.
More works open up mainly west Glamorgan and east Carmarthenshire.
1878 at the Paris Exhibition, only tinplate produced at Llangennech works from steel made at Elba, Gowerton, is good enough to work with new American high-speed, deep-drawn can-making machine.
1880s world demand explodes almost wholly met by Welsh works, most now being in Swansea, Llanelli and Pontarddulais triangle.
1891 McKinley Tariff virtually closes American market (75 per cent of Welsh tinplate business).
1890s-1914 New works in Pontarddulais and elsewhere more than regain lost markets
1914-1918 shortages of men and coal, works close or are put on short time.
1919-1939 post-war boom followed by difficult times, weathered by economising, agreements and amalgamations.
1939-1945 output at a low ebb
1945-1960 export markets never regained, works effectively paid not to produce. Ebbw Vale Strip mill (1935), followed by Trostre and Velindre, end pack mill process.
Around 10 to 15 per cent of tinplate workers were women, most of whom retired when they married. Thus in 1939 there were several generations of women used to heavy factory work who could "man" munitions factories at Bridgend and Pembrey.
At one time the Pontarddulais tinplate works would produce almost 400 tons a day, or enough tinplate in a week to put a layer over the entire town. In six months their output would encircle the earth.
Probably no port on earth handled a greater tonnage of a single manufactured product than did Swansea's tinplate wharves.
Swansea's Metal Exchange was a world centre for the buying and selling of tinplate
The needs of the tinplate industry made the engineering works and foundries of Swansea and Llanelli world centres of excellence.
Welsh tinplate production immediately before the First World War neared a million tons a year, representing some 20 million boxes with over 30,000 directly employed.
As the rest of the world developed tinplate industries they mainly relied on South Wales expertise. S R Cound, founder of the Elba tinplate works at Port Tennant, took Gorseinon tinplate know-how to Moscow to establish the Russian tinplate industry.
Every British Army campaign from the Crimea to Iraq has depended on Welsh tinplate to preserve its food and protect its ammunition.