Tin can, Nestlé

Type of object
United States
Technique and material


10 x 12 cm

This tin contains soluble coffee and dates back to 1944. Although this beverage had been available since 1890 and was in popular demand, the taste still lacked something. That was until, in 1938, the Nestlé chemist Max Morgenthaler created Nescafé,  solving the problem of the stability of flavours by adding maltodextrin and glucose as the coffee was percolated.

The Nestlé & Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company then decided to combine this discovery with the already well-mastered process of spraying after drying. This gave rise to Nescafé powder, which became an overnight success. It proved to be a practical and inexpensive alternative to fresh coffee and could easily be rationed during the Second World War. The tin can in the Museum’s collection proves that Nescafé was used to supply US Army troops. In 1945, Nescafé was packaged in a glass jar, considered more suitable for daily use.