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Tools were developed to make life easier for us so that we could fix all those nooks and crannies, but did you know that some of the most popular tools and everyday objects have many hidden features? These intricate nuances are prime examples of creative ingenuity but often don’t get the credit they deserve as we see them as necessities rather than objects we should appreciate.
With that said, here are some of the most common everyday items that serve more than just one purpose.
1. Jeans’ fifth pocket
Denim has a varied history that goes right back to the late 1800s, with Levi Strauss being one of the early pioneers of the material which has since become ubiquitous to wardrobes around the world. However, while the design is fairly simple, the fifth pocket serves a purpose even the biggest of jean scholars may not be aware of.
Indeed the small pocket was designed to accommodate the pocket watch. This stemmed from the gold rush in late 1800s California, attracting miners from around America. Without wanting to risk breaking a wristwatch owing to the manual labour required, a pocket watch was deemed a more sensible option.
2. Hole in pen cap
Manufacturers of pens know that a lot of their users will be small children in schools. And if you’re one of many, you probably got bored in class and started chewing the back of it, which is why there’s a hole in the cap.
Why? Because many small kids could choke if they accidentally swallowed the thing whole. So preventative measures were put in place, such as placing a hole in the cap to make sure the child could still breathe if it were swallowed.
3. Soda can hole
Another hole on our list regards the humble soda can. Every one of them, from your Sprites and Fantas to your Coca-Colas has a moderately large hole on the top.
When you push it back, it opens up the can, of course, but the hole between the can hole serves as a place-holder for your straw. Pretty cool.
4. Loops in a grocery cart
Shopping carts seemingly serve a primary function: to store our groceries in bulk. Yes, this is all seems obvious, but did you know that there is a purpose behind the metal loops found on the top fold of the grocery cart?
Instead of storing everything in the main carrier, the loops’ intended function was to protect lighter items such as bread and eggs from being damaged and thus bags with lighter goods should hang between them.
5. Half-belt on coats
While many clothing extras seemingly serve little function other than to add a fashionable edge to the garment, these subtle extras were once intended for a more practical purpose. In the case of the half belt, as often seen on the pea coat and various military-inspired trench coats, their purpose was to help soldiers by doubling up as blankets!
The half-belt was designed to keep it in place when they were on the move. Now people just want to look cool. Oh, how times have changed!
6. Side holes in Converse
Nearly every Western person on this planet as at some time or other went through a phase of wearing Converse. They’re a staple part of people’s trainer closest and are timeless classics that go well with just about anything, but have you ever wondered why there are holes in the side?
Well, they were designed to accommodate basketball player’s variable foot sizes. The original Jordans? You bet.
7. Pill bottle caps
Why are pill bottles so hard to open, you may have wondered. Well, it’s because children might be tempted to open them and overdose.
Therefore most medication bottles will have a childproof cap. So relax, you haven’t suddenly become weaker. Masculinity restored.
8. Notebook margins
These seem familiar, don’t they? While we might now write on laptops, paper notepads are still in use, and people religiously keep their writings to within the fine margins outlined by the manufacturers. But that wasn’t their intention.
In the good ol’ days, rats were a constant worry for homeowners, and they would often lose valuable writings as rats would often chew through the paper. To minimise damage, companies would include margins on the left-hand side of the paper in the hopes writing within the margins wouldn’t be affected.
9. Paper condiments
We all love dipping our salty fries into a sugar-infested sauce but have you ever questioned why they are so darn small? Well, the purpose for this isn’t to present you with a first world culinary problem but to aid you with a foldout paper platter.
10. Takeout containers
Like the paper condiment cups at fast-food eateries, the food takeout boxes have a similar purpose.
Folding out as a makeshift cardboard plates, your food is ready to eat and throw in the bin when finished. In other words, they’ve become the go-to student meals for lazy college teens.
11. Carpentry knife cap
Like the pen cap, carpentry knives come with thick plastic caps to protect you from an inconvenient cut!
The plastic cap can be easily undone which means you won’t be spending the next hour trying to get it off like you would with a bottle of medical pills.
12. Beer bottlenecks
Beer bottles are known to billions, but it’s not that known what purpose bottlenecks serve. Yes, the design of the beer bottle isn’t something you probably analyze but come to think of it, you’re probably questioning why the neck is so long.
Well, the bottleneck is intended to have people holding it at the top of the bottle, that way their clammy palms won’t be able to heat the rest of the beer from their body warmth.
13. Stapler’s metal plates
The metal plate on the front of your stapler has a variety of settings. Mindblowing, right?
If you turn the stapler upside down, you can alter it by altering the wheel until it lines up with the hole in the metal plate, making it easier to pull out.
14. The hole on a lollipop stick
Bringing it back to the nostalgia of yesteryear childhood, did you ever notice the hole on the top of your lollipop? The reason for it stems from the unique manufacturing process which sees hot melted candy poured into the mould, some of which goes through the hole to make it more durable and keep it from falling off.
This wasn’t necessary with the round paper lollipop sticks because the melted candy gripped it better.
15. Plastic lids on plastic cups
Plastic lids on disposable cups may seem to serve an obvious, sole purpose, but they have a variety of functions. As well as keeping your liquid safe from spilling out the container, the lid contains certain ridges that can double up as a coaster.
Pretty nifty, right?
16. Holes in pots and pans
Another seemingly straightforward set of holes that seem only to serve one purpose, the loops at the ends of the handles were not intended for hanging.
The metal ring looped through the hole doesn’t fit that well on many hooks because these pan-handles are designed for stirring spoons. Bet you didn’t know that.
17. Pasta scoops
On the topic of stirring spoons, we can also reveal that those holes in the pasta scoop spoons are used for grouping dry pasta together, so it doesn’t slide off the utensil. This can then determine how much pasta will be needed for a serving by how it fits in the scoop.
18. Hole in the aeroplane window
Ever noticed the small hole at the bottom of the aeroplane window? It has two functions. The first is to allow airflow through to prevent pressure building in the plane. The second concerns fog maintenance to prevent the window from fogging up from the breath of passengers.
You learn something new every day.
19. The dot between the lens and flash on your iPhone
iPhones- we all have one. Most of us, at least. And we all use them to distract us from the real world, but that’s a different story altogether. Anyway, even the most eager-eyed observer of the 21st century’s most popular tech gadget would likely not have noticed the black dot wedged between the lens and flash.
Its function has nothing to do with the camera, however, and merely acts as a third microphone.
20. Silica gel
What purpose do these things serve is a question probably no one has asked, but we will tell you anyway. Silica gel is a desiccant, resulting in it sucking moisture from its immediate environment.
The small packets also absorb humidity in confined environments and protect certain products from spoiling.
21. The indentation in wine bottles
Whilst the punt is a feature of tradition as opposed to serving any practical reason, wine experts will tell you that the confined space spawned from the punt collects sediment at the bottom to keep it from escaping the wine itself.
However, in champagne and carbonated refreshments, the indentation serves a definite purpose by adequately dividing the pressure from the carbon dioxide.
22. Bumps in tire threads
While many drivers use the age-old penny head trick, the little-raised edges inside the grooves of your tire’s tread serve as an indicator of when it’s time to change your tires.
If the edges of the tread are the same level as the bumps, you need to change them. If the edge rises above the bump then you’re still ok to drive.
23. Lines on red party cup
Step one foot inside a college dorm and all you’ll see are these famous- and some would say iconic- red cups. Their colour not only hides any trace of alcohol but also decorates many a beer pong table. But unleash your inner nerd and you’ll notice the lines and ridges.
These lines act as liquid measurements for various kinds of alcohol. The bottom line indicates a 1 oz serving of hard liquor, the second a 5 oz dose of wine, and the third line denotes 12 oz.
24. Multicolored erasers
While it is a mere myth that the two-toned eraser was capable of erasing pen ink with one side, both sides of these particular erasers do serve a purpose.
If the color is red, blue, or gray then they can eradicate pencil and graphite showings on certain types of paper.
25. Holes on the tounges of running shoes
The extra holes that hover above the tongue of most running sneakers may look like your typical holes for shoelaces but they do serve a particular purpose.
They were intended for the more serious runner who prefers a more customized kind of tightness.
26. The wavy side of that pesky bobby pin
Most girls and women wear bobby pins in their hair because they look nice and make their hair appear wavy and voluminous, but their design has a more practical purpose.
The real purpose for the waves is to grip the pin into place by catching it to the underlying bulk of hair.
27. Stripes in toothpaste
Aquafresh’s signature white, blue and red stripes may appear to be an ode to American consumerism, but it this unique toothpaste simply offers buyers the added, combined benefits of both cleaning, freshening and plaque control.
The blue stripe has the dual action of cleaning and freshening while the red takes care of the plaque control.
28. The hole in the McFlurry spoon
The complimentary spoon that comes with the sugary treat contains a square-shaped hole within the handle of the spoon.
While it becomes something of a makeshift straw as the ice cream melts, it’s intended to help the machine as it whisks the ice cream and toppings together.
29. Wooden hangers
While you may think that wooden hangers are a posher, sturdier version of your regular plastic hanger, their unique purpose isn’t how well they hang clothes.
As they comprise of cedar wood, they repel bugs and moths and contain a refreshing scent, perfect for heavy clothing. This is often why you see wooden hangers in more high-toned fashion stores.
30. The arrow on your gas pump indicator
The gas pump fools even the most seasoned of drivers, and you’ll probably spot at least one red-faced driver on the wrong side of the gas pump. However, there is an arrow on the dashboard that shows us what side the gas pump is on.
The gas indicator light in your vehicle has a red arrow next to the pump. This arrow indicates what side the fuel tank is.
Bet you never knew that.