Jump to page content

Can Constructions – Travellers’ Tower

My new can tower: under construction.


Mk I Mk I
Mk III Mk III (105 cans)

Mk I

OK, here we have a single column of unsupported cans on top of a cupboard of drawers:

Above view of the Mk I Travellers' Tower

That is not going to work is it? Silly boy. It fell over.


Stages 1 and 2

Would it not make more sense to start off with a solid base and go from there? Of course it would. This one has not fallen over yet:

Above view of Travellers' Tower with stage 2 partly complete Another view of Travellers' Tower

I am not sure whether it is just me, but these photographs rather remind me of looking at Lego kit instructions!

At this stage the base layer is complete, and the first phase of the design is heading towards completion. It may be obvious what I am building at this point. As well as plans for this stage I have also designed what is going to come next.

And here you can see stage two completed:

Above view of Travellers' Tower with stage 2 complete Side view of Travellers' Tower with stage 2 complete

Stage 3

I decided that stage three would involve another layer on top of this and for once it would not be red! I imagined that I would miss drinking Dr Pepper and Coca Cola during stage three, and oh boy, was I ever right. The Dr Pepper cans in the following shots are evidence of my will faltering during not wanting to have to see another Sprite or Appletise can!

Stage three finally complete (the Dr Pepper cans have all been banished to the stockpile for now):

In the last photograph, you can see that I cheated and slipped in a Pepsi can! I know, I know… Don’t blame me, my boss drinks Pepsi! Greg Dean would be proud. I wanted the tower complete before I went home for “Christmas” (not that I celebrate it) and that was a reasonable match. Of course, I would have had it long since finished if I wasn’t being naughty and drinking other stuff; as a result, a new stockpile is being formed:

Though to mitigate it, quite a few of those cans are my boss’s. The plan is to form stage four from those cans as a layer on top; what I was planning as stage four will have to become stage five.

As an aside, it is funny how large my tower looks in the above shots; the wonders of a well-framed photograph. The following photograph shows Travellers’ Tower in its native habitat of The Top Floor of Unit 4 Travellers Close, and how small it really is:

I had no idea at this stage how much longer the tower would last. I came in one morning to find the right-most set of columns on the floor behind the drawer unit, and given that I was maintaining its purity, it was likely to soon collapse. That, or I’d start sticking it together but that would to me rather spoil it. I had to use Blu-Tack on my original tower as my colleague Alan Hanslow had a large fan on his desk that in summer was wont to blow my tower over!

Stage 4

Stage four was to be a rainbow design starting with red at the bottom and purple at the top. The down side is that Dr Pepper cans have no place in such a design and I was put off by once again not being able to drink Dr Pepper! So this stage just consisted of arranging the stockpile onto the main tower:

Unfortunately at this stage it became very unstable, and collapsed:


Not to be defeated, time to build anew from the ruins of the old. I had grown a bit tired of the archetypal and unimaginative pyramid-shaped tower and decided that a castle tower would look more impressive. I was considering modifying it to look like this anyhow but given that I had to start all over again, this time it would be a castle tower:

With this design, the base was lengthened by one row of cans allowing for a shorter, stabler design given the same number of cans. It was never going to be the most elaborate or convincing castle given the low “resolution” of the structure.

Unfortunately, with the arrival of a new desk close to mine and a new colleague, this tower was accidentally demolished in short order by human action, and while the director was stood there on the phone to someone no less. That was funny. He had to quickly claim that “A display just fell over” as the other party probably wondered what on earth all the noise was!

Realising that there was nowhere I could safely rebuild it now (wobbly floor, wobbly tables and a lack of space elsewhere), I put all the cans into boxes ready for recycling. The second photo shows the first consignment of cans on their way to the recycling bin in my village.

Old habits die hard though and cans are once more accumulating on my desk even before the final box has been carried off!