A jerrycan (also written as jerry can or jerrican) was originally a robust fuel container made from pressed steel. It was designed in Germany in the 1930s for military use to hold 20 L (4.4 imp gal; 5.3 US gal) of fuel.
The development of the jerrycan was a significant improvement on earlier designs, which required tools and funnels to use. Today similar designs are used for fuel and water containers, some of which are also produced in plastic. The designs usually emulate the original steel design and are still known as jerrycans
Uses for the cans have expanded beyond the original intended use of carrying fuel. Today, a can's use is denoted by its colouring, and occasionally, imprinted labelling on the container itself. This is to prevent contamination of the can's contents by mixing different fuels or mixing fuel with water.
The US version of the jerrycan is covered by military specification MIL-C-1283 and has been produced since the early 1940s by a number of US manufacturers, according to a current manufacturer, Blitz. The National Stock Number is 7240-00-222-3088. It is considered obsolete by a new A-A-59592A specification, having been replaced with plastic versions.