16 Items Whose True Purpose Will Surprise You
Many things we use daily were invented for a totally different reason and have a pretty interesting origin.
Bright Side collected 15 well-known things you wouldn't guess the initial use of.
16. Bumps on cup covers
Usually, there are several cups of drinks waiting for clients in a kitchen, and they're covered so they don't cool. To know what's inside without opening the cups, employees look at these bumps with the name of the drink written on them. This is also convenient for the buyer because you can find your drink among others.
15. Cedar hangers
Have you ever wondered why until now most of the market is occupied by wooden hangers, which could be replaced by plastic? It turns out that cedar contains natural oils that repel moths, thereby keeping your things safe.
14. The top of chopsticks
Many believe that the piece of wood at the top is a stand for the chopsticks. In fact, you can see it only on disposable sticks. It shows that no one has used them before, and the packing machine can't pack only one stick.
13. Blue bristles on a toothbrush
If you notice the blue bristles on your toothbrush start to lose their color, this is a sign it's time to replace it. The blue color is an indicator that shows when it's time to buy a new toothbrush.
In China, dark glasses have been used since the 12th century but not for sun protection: they were used to avoid the glances of others. Judges wore such glasses during trials so that no one could see their emotions.
In their free time, students at Yale University played with tin pie dishes by the Frisbie Pie Company. The name "Frisbee" was so popular among students that Wham-O representatives renamed their flying discs (launched in 1957) to Frisbee.
Brandy, as we know it today, first appeared in the 12th century. Initially, the distillation of wine was a method of its preservation, which simplified transportation. Before consumption, water was added to the brandy to get wine again. However, it turned out that wooden barrels made the product better than the wine from which it was obtained.
9. Bubble wrap
Today bubble wrap is used to protect fragile objects. However, in 1957, Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes tried to invent a new material for wallpaper, which could be easily cleaned. Later it was sold to IBM as packing material, and the company began to wrap its computers in it.
The pillow was invented so that insects couldn't get into the nose, ears, and mouth of sleeping people. The ancient Chinese used firm pillows because soft ones were believed to drain the body of energy. Africans believed that a pillow could help you talk to your ancestors in a dream. European men didn't use pillows because they were considered a symbol of weakness.
During WWII, T-shirts were used as underwear. To appear in a tee in public was like walking naked. The stereotype was broken in 1951 in the film A Streetcar Named Desire, with Marlon Brando appearing in a white T-shirt in almost every frame. Over time, the T-shirt became outerwear.
The treadmill's predecessor was invented in 1818 to punish prisoners (they held sticks and moved their feet on the blades) and later for grinding grain in correctional facilities.
The first webcam was invented in 1991 and showed a coffee maker. At Cambridge University, the whole team of the scientific project participants had only one coffee maker, and it was on another floor. When they wanted coffee, they could look to see when it was brewing: an image that was updated three times a minute appeared on the remote computer.
4. Tea bag
The tea bag was accidentally invented by the merchant Thomas Sullivan in 1904. Tea was sold in large tin cans, but Sullivan decided it would be more beneficial to sell small packs and used silk bags as containers. New York restaurateurs found it convenient to brew tea right in the new packages.
3. Rivets on jeans
Rivets are not just a decoration. When the first pairs of jeans appeared, laborers wore denim during work, but hard labor caused their pants to fall apart quickly. Fortunately, a solution was found: studs strengthening the areas that endured the most strain. The riveted pants became a huge success. As we still wear them nowadays, you can imagine how revolutionary they turned out to be.
2. Fidget spinner
The fidget spinner became popular in 2017, although similar devices were invented back in 1993. Initially, its creation was attributed to Catherine Hettinger, who made a toy for her daughter from newspaper and sticky tape. Fidget spinners are now believed to be anti-stress toys for people who have problems with concentration and symptoms of anxiety.
1. Shoes on wires
There are several opinions concerning the appearance of this phenomenon:
- This is a way students celebrate graduation, and military men the end of service, by throwing up in the air everything they have at hand.
- Some people believe that hanging shoes will help in the future. For example, in the next life: when a person dies, sooner or later their spirit returns to Earth.
- Tossed shoes show the limits of the zone of influence, informing people that local "rules" change beyond the power lines.
- In New York and Los Angeles, these are secret signs of local criminal groups' members to each other: the neighboring house sells drugs. The color and shape of the shoe determine what you can buy.
- Shoes are thrown at wires by thieves to create a power surge. While workers are dealing with it, the thieves steal the wires.