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Almost everyone has a can opener available to open a can but it's way more convenient if that can comes with a pull tab. So, why do some cans have them and not others?. The story goes that in 1959, a humble engineer from Dayton, Ohio, named Ermal "Ernie" Fraze was enjoying a family picnic when he realized that he forgot to bring a "church key." A church key is an old-school can opener that, in the era before pull-tab cans, was used to pop two holes in a can of beer.