[flickr-photo:id=4691314617,size=-]Volta Coffee, Tea & Chocolate presents Thomas Olmsted's amazing collection of 400 commodity coffee cans. (He still has half again more in storage...) Think of it as a history of the first wave of coffee in the US: view the development of coffee marketing from 1920's to the present, played out in paint and tin.

The oldest tins in the collection date back to the mid-20s, when both modern-streamlined design and ethnic stereotypes were the norm. By mid-century, the artwork shifts to domestic bliss (Love Nest Coffee, anyone?). The 60s and 70s are dominated by utilitarianism, speed, and thrift.

We'll be hosting the collection until the end of the month. A selection of photographs of cans from the collection can be found over on Flickr.