The concept of placing food in tins (cans) dates back at least to the seventeenth century Dutch. English seamen reported seeing tins of biscuits on Dutch ships. Another sea captain, John Stedman wrote about sailors eating “roast beef packed in dripping in soldered airtight tinplate containers”.
Canning as we know it today was perfected by Nicolas Appert, born in 1750 in the Champagne region of France. Appert was a chef as well as a chemist and began experiments canning food in glass jars. Later he packed food in hand-soldered tins which eventually lead to the full-scale mass-production of food canning.
Except for commercial food preparation kitchens, little reference is made to can sizes except in some older cookbooks. Should you run across those references this chart of standard can sizes may be useful.