Tin boxes were being used in the mid-nineteenth century for a number of items, in particular biscuits, mustard and tobacco. During the 1880s, advances were being made in the development of airtight tins. They were mostly used to keep products fresh, a feature which was particularly useful for export.Perhaps the most ingenious discovery was made by G.H. Williams. His tin was cylindrical and was opened by revolving the lid, which had an in-built cutter designed to pierce the airtight inner foil. The British tobacco firm, Wills, had exclusive rights to this invention, which they started to use from 1887.