When people first started developing tools to make life easier, every little detail of a tool had a specific purpose. Nothing they did was by accident or simply for flare. Even what was meant to be artwork had a particular purpose that had to do with either religious beliefs or common everyday activities. Everything was very intentional, and nothing was abstract.
This makes sense when you consider how few raw materials were being used and that everything you were using in your craft had to be painstakingly harvested or gathered by hand. When a project consists of back-breaking work, the designs tend to become practical. Most of us might not know it, but that is still the case with many of our everyday items today.
From soda cans and can openers to seams and tape measuring machines, tiny details in the design may seem purely aesthetic but serve an instrumental purpose. Sometimes their purpose may even seem blatantly obvious, but the product’s intended purpose is something you never thought of! Here are few everyday things you didn’t know the purpose of.
Your Jeans’ fifth pocket
You’ve probably used that tiny extra pocket on your jeans to store coins, tweezers, fold up cash, or store your Chapstick in. But in the mid-1800s, jeans were the preferred choice of pants for California gold miners of that era. This small pocket was used to keep their expensive yet delicate pocket watches tucked in safely.
The ridges on the edge coins
Have you ever noticed that dimes and quarters have a rough edge while nickels and pennies remain smooth? There’s a very clever reason for this! In the past, coins were stamped from different types of metal cast at a weight that represented the coin’s true value.
One silver dollar was crafted out of a single ounce of silver. It wasn’t long until people realized they could shave off pieces of the coin (to sell independently) and still spend the shaven ones – even though they weren’t worth the same amount anymore.
The coin minters got wise to this and added the rigid pattern to the precious coins specifically to make it easy to tell if someone had shaven them.
A Solo cup’s lines
Solo cups are synonymous with parties and out-of-control college kids, but have you ever wondered what those lines on these popular red cups are for?
They’re an easy way to measure the amount of liquid you pour. For example, the bottom line equals an ounce, which is the recommended serving of hard liquor. Meanwhile, the third line equals 12 ounces, which is the recommended serving of beer.
Your pen cap’s hole
Have you ever noticed the tiny hole in your pen cap? Manufacturers designed them this way so that children didn’t choke if they wound up swallowing the cap by mistake. The hole ensures that air will still make it to their lungs until the object is finally removed. They really did think of everything, huh?
Rachfeed reports that a hundred people a year reportedly choke to death on these pen lids in the United States. A reduction in this figure has been attributed to the hole in the lid, with other companies introducing a similar feature. A perfect example where a tiny detail can have a significant impact.
A grocery cart’s loops
If you ever wondered why shopping carts come with those metal loops on the frame, well, today’s the day you finally get an answer.
As you probably already guessed, they’re there for practical reasons. These loops are designed to allow shoppers to hang bags containing delicate things like eggs and bread so they don’t get squished by heavier objects you place in your cart.
Like many people, you probably assumed notebook margins were invented as a writing guide. Or to make sure your paper fits within your trapper keeper (shout out to the ’90s), but they were designed for something totally different.
Years ago, it was widespread for rats to live throughout the houses. One of the many things they liked to chew on was paper. When manufacturers got wise to this, they implemented margins to protect your work from the rodents who would eat around the edges. So next time you think about blaming the dog for eating your homework, you can mix it up and blame the rats in your house.
Golf ball dimples
The original golf balls were nice and smooth, but golf players didn’t like them because they didn’t play as well as the worn-down ones.
Pretty soon, they started using old golf balls, which worried manufacturers. So, to get golfers to buy new golf balls, they started designing them with artificially aged dimples.
The arrow next to your gas gauge
Have you ever driven a rental car to a gas station and wondered… wait, which side is the gas tank on? Turns out, that little arrow next to the gas gauge will tell you! Yeah, we didn’t realize that either! No more driving around in circles.
The hole in your pot handle
You probably use that hole in the handle of your pots and pans to hang them up in the kitchen.
But did you know that you can also use them to hold up your messy spoon while you cook? That way, the spoon won’t end up dripping all over the countertops or dirtying an extra plate.
Exit signs hidden message
Did you realize that the alignment of those exit signs (seen throughout the highway) is not randomly placed?
They are meant to tell you which side of the highway the exit is on! If you see the exit is resting on the left side, the exit will come up on the left. The same goes for the right. We bet you never knew that!
The extra fabric in new clothes
If you’ve ever used that extra piece of fabric that comes with new clothes to patch a hole up, then we’ve got news for you.
The manufacturer provides that tiny little sample so you can test your laundry detergent with it. That way, you can determine if the detergent will damage your fabric or not.
Tiny hole on elevator doors
No, this is not a voyeuristic peephole to fulfill your deepest elevator fantasies. It’s a custom keyhole to access the special compartment to a secret world. That, or for authorized maintenance teams to do repairs… you decide.
Eat tic tacs the right way
Did you know that all Tic Tac containers were designed to dispense one Tic Tac at a time? That certainly explains the tiny indentation on the lid, which is shaped exactly like the candy.
Most of us lift the tab and shake the container a couple of times until six of these fresh minty treats fall into the palm of our hands.
The holes on the airplane’s windows
Don’t worry about the cabin depressurizing! Those tiny holes on an airplane’s windows are there to regulate the pressure difference between the interior and the exterior of the plane as it ascends to the sky. And bonus! They also keep your windows from fogging up, so you’re able to take stunning photos of the clouds.
The hole in your pasta spoon
Yes, the hole’s primary purpose is to let the water drain out of the pasta, but that’s not all!
In some of these spoons, the hole is approximatively the size of a single spaghetti portion. So now you can stick your dry spaghetti inside the cavity before cooking, so you don’t wind up making extra. Seriously! Why are we just hearing about this now?
The neck on soda and beer bottles
You probably hold your bottle from the bottle’s main body. Well, all you’re doing is warming your beer or soda up with your hands.
If you want to keep your beer cooler for a lot longer, then you should hold it by its neck. That’s what it was designed for.
Your coat and jacket’s half-belt
The half-belt commonly seen on pea coats and trench coats was developed initially for military soldiers who wore oversized jackets that also served as blankets. The half-belt was designed to gather the extra material and keep it in place while the soldiers walked.
The hole at the end of a tape measure
If you own a tape measure, then you’ve undoubtedly wondered why they make them with a tiny hole at the end of the tape.
The hole is to be used to secure the tape measure in place. A simple nail through it should do the job and will help you from making those small errors.
A toothpaste tube’s-colored square
The toothpaste tube’s-colored squares at the bottom aren’t there because they look pretty. They’re eye marks that tell assembly line machines where to cut and where to fold the packaging. Otherwise, toothpaste tubes would come out stuck to one another.
Did you know that a bunch of people believed the color of the dot was meant to indicate the level of toxicity in your favorite tube?
The hole on a lollipop stick
So, what’s the purpose of that little hole on top of a lollipop stick? When manufacturers pour the melted candy into the mold, some of it will seep into the hole and harden. This ensures that the candy will remain stuck on the stick instead of coming off.
Plastic lids for cups
The plastic lids on disposable cups were designed so people wouldn’t accidentally spill their drinks.
But the lids also have ridges that fit well at the base of the cup. So basically, what you have is a fully functional coaster, too.
The red, white, and blue stripes in Aquafresh toothpaste were added after realizing that people wanted more than just minty fresh breath.
The blue stripe indicates its dual action of cleansing and refreshing. Later, they added the third red stripe to symbolize that their toothpaste had cleaning, freshening, and plaque control perks. While solid white toothpaste may come with the same features, brands continue adding stripes to their products because they know they’ll just sell better.
Winter hat pom-poms
Pom-poms can usually be found on the top of a winter hat or a beanie. But have you ever wondered why they’re even there in the first place?
Well, apparently, sailors used to wear these hats so that they wouldn’t bash their heads when working below decks. Pom-poms provide some much-needed protection and cushioning. Who knew!
Silica gel packets
These tiny silica gel packets are designed to absorb about 50% of moisture from a small environment like a shoebox, for example.
Since silica gel is a desiccant, you can even use them if you accidentally drop your phone in water. Just grab some and place them in a Ziplock bag so that it can absorb the moisture right out of your phone.
The Mcflurry spoon’s square hole
The square-shaped hole in your McFlurry spoon isn’t there for no reason. First, the hollowness saves a lot of plastic. Second, many people have also discovered that the chunky spoon can be used as a straw if your tasty treat starts to melt.
Finally, the design makes it easier to stick to the machine that whisks the toppings and ice cream how a drill or a cement mixer works.