Blasted Cans?

A slightly text-heavy post this week, but well worth sharing! This four-page publication, recently discovered by a Special Collections staff member, summarizes a part of “Operation Cue,” which took place in 1955.

The Federal Civil Defense Administration staged “Operation Cue,” a demonstration on the test site of the Atomic Energy Commission in Nevada. This was a big dramatic event to educate the public on what they should do to protect themselves against nuclear warfare. Products of 150 industries that are used by American householders were included, among them foods, and looming largest, because of their past value in previous wars, were canned foods in tin and glass containers.

Canned and glass packaged good were stations in different locations and at various distances from a blast site. The publication makes frequent references to the related images/figures, which, sadly, Special Collection does not have.

The text page above includes a summary of the experiment and it is worth drawing attention to the third paragraph, “The food in tin containers exposed at 3,750 feet and greater distances away, was undamaged except for perforations from flying bits of shattered glass window panes…the food was not adversely affected.” Other than the potentially irradiated broken glass in your canned corn, there’s absolutely nothing to stop you from eating it.

On a related note, in 1965, the government produce a series of nine “rural civil defense” ads for TV, “acted out” with marionettes. Number 6 in the series deals specifically with how/what food is safe to eat following an attack, as well as what to store up for the inevitable nuclear war. The video is available online via YouTube, along with the rest of the series.

Happy civil defense planning!

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One thought on “Blasted Cans?

  1. Pingback: The Fruits (and Veggies) of a Little Kitchen Labor « What's Cookin' @ Special Collections?!

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