The pop-top drink can was invented in the early 1970s by Australian designer Mike Debenham, working with the steel company BHP to help eliminate traditional ring-pull cans, which – although an improvement on earlier cans which required can-openers – had created a widespread litter problem as people would often throw the ring-pulls away after opening the cans (as well as creating a potential choking hazard when the ring-pulls fell into cans and were swallowed).
The design used currently-available grades of tin-coated steel and aluminium in high-speed canning machinery; it was easy to use for the customer and had no detachable part (unlike its litter-making predecessor).
The can had two press buttons. The small button was pushed in first to release the internal pressure of the drink, and the larger button was then pushed in to enable pouring.
Critically both buttons remained attached to the can as a result of a differentially pressured crease.
Consumer trials were carried out in 1972, and, in 1973, the “Presto” can (as it was officially named) was launched, with the cans manufactured all over the world. The popularity of the can was to prove short-lived, though, and the advent of the modern “stay-on tab” rendered the Presto obsolete.