Zip Tab Beer Cans

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Copyright © 2017 Thor Kampfer

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The first beer cans that did not require a can opener were called zip tabs. They were an early version of the pull tab.

zip tab example 1

The Pittsburgh Brewing Company marketed the first zip tab beer can in 1962. The Iron City beer can was a success and other breweries soon followed. By the 1970's most breweries had switched over to pull tab beer cans. The early years of the zip tab saw many different zip tab styles. It took nearly a decade for the design to be standardized.

zip tab example 2

There has recently been a revival in collecting zip tab beer cans. Pristine examples that have the tab intact, like the example on the right, are being recognized by beer can collectors for their uniqueness. Not all zip tabs have value, but some do.