Industry: Cans v. Bottles

With competitive materials such as aluminum, concrete and plastics steadily cutting into its traditional markets, the U.S. steel industry is going through a harrowing test of its metal. But in one great competitive battle—cans v. glass bottles—the steelmakers are on the attack.

Cans have taken 37% of the $430 million-a-year beer container market away from bottles, and now they are looming bigger in the soft-drink container business. Fortnight ago, Continental Can Co. reported that sales of its soft-drink cans were running 40% ahead of last year. Canned soft drinks were almost unknown nine years ago; they are...

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