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Phoenix, AZ 85008
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That is a vacuum can or reservoir.
The actual vacuum system is unknown. However, the picture looks like it is from a vehicle from the 70s and a full sized Ford or Mercury with a Windsor block engine.

Anyway, the possible vacuum systems are: (in no particular order)
HVAC
Power door locks
Speed control
Concealed head lamps - however that reservoir may be larger
Or some other vacuum controlled circuit

The purpose is to maintain a vacuum signal during periods when engine vacuum is low. Like dropping the pedal on the right to the floor. This would cause engine vacuum to drop to near zero.

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