If you’re old (like me), you may remember poking holes in a drink can. You used a can opener called a church key. One end of the mechanism featured a pointed end and the other a rounded or smooth end. In order to get the drink to come out without blubbering, you’d poke two holes—one each on opposite sides of the can top. As air flowed into the can, the beverage smoothly flowed out.
The pull tab
In 1959, the can pull tab was invented. Ermal Fraze, the founder of Dayton Reliable Tool & Manufacturing Company, came up with the idea. Legend has it that Fraze forgot to bring a can opener to a picnic. He was forced to try and open beer cans on his car bumper! The embarrassing incident provided an impetus for Fraze to find a new way to open cans. So, after some consideration and experimentation, the pull tab (aka pop tab or ring tab) was born. By 1962, the Pittsburgh Brewing Company had placed Fraze’s pull tab on the top of its Iron City Beer cans. Soon, other manufacturers adopted the pull tab as the way to open their cans, too.
1970s tab upgrade
Daniel F. Cudzik, a Reynolds Metals Company engineer, began searching for an alternative to the pull tab. The problem with pull tabs was what to do with the tab once the can was opened. Many tabs were tossed on the ground—an environmental problem. Other pull tabs were dropped back inside the can, posing a potential choking hazard. Cudzik wanted to find a solution, and in 1975, his Sta-Tab launched. Falls City Beer featured the Sta-Tab and today most drink manufacturers have followed suit.
Unusual uses for can tabs while RVing
- Straw holder. Turn the Sta-Tab around so that the end of the tab is positioned over the drink opening. The tab hole will help keep your straw in place as you enjoy your soda.
- Hang a picture. Remove the Sta-Tab from the drink can. Place a screw through the smaller hole in the Sta-Tab to fasten the tab to the back of the picture frame. The larger tab hole will slip over a nail to hang the picture.
- Double the hanging space. Remove the Sta-Tab from the drink can. Slip a wire hanger through one of the holes in the tab. Then use the other hole to hold an additional hanger. This way you can hang two garments in the space where previously only one was hung.
- Corral wire ties. I save bread ties. I used to indiscriminately toss them into the silverware drawer, but now I fasten several ties through a Sta-Tab. The tab keeps the ties together so they’re easier to locate.
- Donate to Ronald McDonald House. Yes, Ronald McDonald House will take your drink tabs for their Tab Top Program. The company sells the aluminum, and the profits support day-to-day operations in The Houses that Love Built.
Do you recycle drink can tabs? Tell us how in the comments below.
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