I still remember the old-fashioned pull tabs on pop cans that were introduced in March 1963 by the Pittsburgh Brewing Company. You put your finger in the ring and pulled the tab off. Unfortunately, these pull tabs were an environmental disaster; pets and wildlife died from digesting the sharp things, as did a few people who dropped them into a can and then accidentally choked on them. The hazardous tabs wound up on beaches, where people cut their feet on them, and littered roadsides and damaged garbage disposals.
Stay tabs (also called colon tabs) were the solution! They were were invented by Daniel F. Cudzik of Reynolds Metals in Richmond, Virginia in 1975, partly to prevent the injuries caused by removable tabs. These are the lids we know today: the tab that can be leveraged to open the hole by pushing the tab into the can. Stay tabs almost completely replaced pull-tabs by the early 1980s … that is, in the western world.
On our holidays in India and Egypt we’ve seen that pull tabs are still being used!! And not only by some local soda companies … no, they are on cans of Coca Cola, Pepsi, Fanta, Sprite, etc! Why is it that more than three decades after the introduction of the stay tab, there are Coca Cola factories in India and Egypt (and presumably in lots of other countries) that are still using these hazardous things?! Isn’t it about time they update their machines?
Here’s a picture I took last week of an Egyptian Diet Coke can: