German Friedrich Soennecken created ring binders in 1886 in Bonn, Germany. He also enrolled a patent on November 14, 1886 for his Papierlocher für Sammelmappen (hole punch). German Louis Leitz, founder of Leitz later made some important changes in evolution of ring binders in Stuttgart-Feuerbach. Leitz brought forward the hole in the side of the file.
The two holes are 80mm apart, says ISO 838. The four-holes version has no ISO norm, the distances are 80mm, 80mm and 80mm (3x8).
Another design for ring binders was created in 1889 by Andreas Tengwall in Helsingborg, Sweden and patented in 1890 under the name 'Trio binder', named after a business consortium of Tengwall and two associates. Tengwall's design implements four rings, two coming from each side in a forking fashion. The hole placement of Tengwall's Trio binder is still implemented as a de-facto standard for hole punching in Sweden under the name triohålning. These holes are 21mm, 70mm and 21mm between one another. (In one article, it makes mention that, according to the curator of the Early Office Museum in London, the earliest patent for ring binders was filed in 1859 for a 2 ring binder. A few years later 3 ring binders became the norm in the US, and the "D" ring binders did not come on the market there until the 1940s or 1950's.)