The ring pull can was invented by Ermal Cleon “Ernie” Fraze of Dayton, Ohio, in 1959. It was first put to the test by Iron City Brewing in Pittsburg in 1962 and soon became widely used for beer and soft drinks. The first brewery in Australia to use the ring pull can was the Swan Brewery in Perth. The original ring pulls detached from the can and became a significant litter problem.
Before the ring pull can, beer and soft drink cans had to be opened with a device called a church-key. You
As an article in The Journal of the American Medical Association noted, at least seven children over a period of a little over three years had “been treated for complications of ingestion or aspiration of pull tabs from aluminium beverage cans.” The threat to health, combined with the environmental impact of millions of discarded ring pulls, spurred the industry to invent something better.
The problem was finally solved by US engineer Daniel F. Cudzik, who developed what he called the Sta-Tab, the fold-back opening common on soft drink cans today. The new device was patented in 1975 and has been universally adopted as the standard opening system for beer and soft drink cans.