This review aims to complement a milestone monograph by Singer et al. (2002, Buckling Experiments—Experimental Methods in Buckling of Thin-Walled Structures, Wiley, New York). Practical aspects of load bearing capacity are discussed under the general umbrella of “buckling.” Plastic loads and burst pressures are included in addition to bifurcation and snap-through/collapse. The review concentrates on single and combined static stability of conical shells, cylinders, and their bowed out counterpart (axial compression and/or external pressure). Closed toroidal shells and domed ends onto pressure vessels subjected to internal and/or external pressures are also discussed. Domed ends include: torispheres, toricones, spherical caps, hemispheres, and ellipsoids. Most experiments have been carried in metals (mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum); however, details about hybrids (copper-steel-copper) and shells manufactured from carbon/glass fibers are included in the review. The existing concerns about geometric imperfections, uneven wall thickness, and influence of boundary conditions feature in reviewed research. They are supplemented by topics like imperfections in axial length of cylinders, imperfect load application, or erosion of the wall thickness. The latter topic tends to be more and more relevant due to ageing of vessels. While most experimentation has taken place on laboratory models, a small number of tests on full-scale models are also referenced.

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