Back in the old days, cans were opened by pulling on an aluminum ring, or "pop top," that would come completely off the can. Now these have been replaced by stay-tabs.

Most people threw away the pop-tops, but a few turned them into wearable art. The leader of this movement was Gonzalo Chavez, aka Pop-Top Terp. From Time magazine (Sep 21, 1970):

In his San Juan workshop, Designer Gonzalo Chavez, 36, a native New Yorker who calls himself Mr. Terp, has been painstakingly assembling pop-top rings into glittering dresses, vests, stoles, belts, miniskirts and maxiskirts—all resembling the mailed armor worn by warriors of the Middle Ages to ward off sword blows. Collecting the rings from rubbish heaps behind San Juan bars, Chavez files down their rough edges and crochets them together with silver thread...

The first pop-top garments were almost as stiff as their medieval counterparts. But Chavez has made them much more supple. "They fit like a second skin," he claims. "As you wear them, they change shape a little and mold themselves to the contours of the body." Rings differ too. Budweiser's rings are light and flexible, Miller High Life's are "soft," and Pepsi's provide a heavier, stiffer garment.

In 1975, Pop-Top Terp published a book, Pop-Topping, that gave detailed instructions on how to make your own pop-top clothes. But since pop tops have now vanished, it's become a guide to a lost form of art. You can read it online at archive.org.

     Posted By: Alex - Tue Jun 18, 2024
     Category: Fashion | Soda, Pop, Soft Drinks and other Non-Alcoholic Beverages | 1970s

And some people put the pop top into the can because it was naughty to litter and wound up swallowing it.
Posted by F.U.D. in Stockholm on 06/18/24 at 11:32 AM
Can-top mail, AC -3.
Posted by Richard Bos on 06/22/24 at 10:02 AM

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