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Hidden Stories Behind Features On Everyday Objects (40 Pics)

Ever wonder how much thought goes into the design of everyday objects? Well, we did the research and found out: a lot.

And that makes sense, right? In the early days of the Industrial Revolution, when materials were harder to come by and people owned maybe one pair of jeans, or a single pair of boots, not only did newly introduced products need to be of the highest quality, but in order to stand the test of time, they needed to be well planned, down to the smallest detail.

Only later would the world come to appreciate abstract shoe designs (like Yeezys) and jeans that you buy with holes already in them. And that’s why many items we use in everyday life lean heavily on function, and far less on the form.

Of course, efficient design is very much a part of modern manufacturing too, and though we may not be familiar with many of the tiny features of everyday objects and what they do, believe it or not, those brushes on the escalator aren’t for shining your shoes, and the holes in pasta spoons are there for a reason. (Keep reading to find out what.)

As always, we’ve cited our sources at the bottom of the article, if you want to fact check us, but suffice it to say, we’re not making this stuff up.

Now, without further ado, here are the most mind-blowing hidden features of everyday items:


🧠 Pom-Poms on beanies…

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First off, yes, they are officially called “pom-poms” — just like the things cheerleaders use! Second, these pom-poms on beanies and other hats aren’t just meant to be fluffy and cute. French sailors used to wear hats with pom-poms so that they wouldn’t bump their heads on the ceilings of the ship when sailing through rough waters. 🧠


👖 The tiny little buttons on your jeans…

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Also knowns as “rivets,” these little magic buttons are designed to make your favorite pair of jeans last longer. How? Well, they’re placed strategically in the areas that are most likely to rip from continuous rubbing (like in the dryer) or strain (like from everyday wear and tear.) They keep those jeans in good shape so that you don’t have to constantly spend your time trying to find that ‘perfect’ pair of jeans once yours wear out. 👖


♨️ That drawer under your oven isn’t for storage…

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Have you been using that drawer for storing pots and pans? Possibly that bread-maker you never use? Well, that’s not what it’s for.  Turns out manufacturers originally made that drawer for keeping food warm until people were ready to serve it. It’s a warming oven! I bet you didn’t know that. I know I didn’t. Guess it’s time for me to go clean out all my pot lids and the Turkey tray I only use at Thanksgiving. ♨️


🔨 Car headrests aren’t just designed for, well, head-resting…

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Headrests are made to be adjustable to comfortably support a person’s head. Duh! But why make them completely detachable too? So your kids can have weapons to fight each other with? Nope! They’re detachable to help you survive. When you pull your headrest out of the seat, it has two sturdy, long metal bars, correct? Well, that’s so if yourself trapped inside a car and need to get out quickly, you can simply detach your headrest and use it to smash out the window. 🔨


😈 Coins have ridges because of some really shady characters…

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While the ridges on coins make them easier to grip, that’s not what the ridges are for. Actually,  those ridge patterns are a relic of the past, when precious metal coins would be literally worth their weight in that precious metal. (Meaning, a $1 piece would be a $1 worth of silver.) However, some nare-do-wells saw an opportunity to make a killing by shaving off the edges of coins, selling them for face value, then melting down the shavings to sell or mint as new coins. Sneaky, though it does sound tedious. 😈


🚑 The holes in pen caps…

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Why are there holes in pen caps? Because the manufacturers know you’re going to chew on them, that’s why. See, you’re not SUPPOSED to chew on pen caps, because they’re a choking hazard. But if you do, and accidentally swallow one, the hole is there to help you keep breathing while the ambulance is on its way. 🚑


⛽️ The Arrow On Your Fuel Guage

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The little arrow-like symbol on a dashboard. It’s not only you who, upon arrival at a gas station, has had to work hard at remembering which side your gas tank is on. It turns out, the answer has been right in front of you. Every dashboard has a little symbol—an arrow or a triangle—placed near the gas gauge. It indicates precisely that which you forgot: which side your gas tank is on. If the arrow is pointing left, look for the filler cap there. If it is pointing right, you know what to do. ⛽️


🍳 Why is there a hole in your pot handle?

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Sure, they’re great when you want to hang your pan or pot on a wall but they’re also perfect for holding spoons and ladles while cooking. That way, you won’t get your kitchen counter messy! 🍳


🥾That extra hole in your boots…

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The extra eyelets on shoes. If you loop your laces through them, then you tighten the shoe around your ankle and prevent the shoe from moving around. This way you increase the stability of the shoe, decrease impact loading rates, and prevent your foot from moving about while climbing or descending hills and trails. It’s great for jogging and hiking! 🥾


⌨️ The grooves on the “J” and “K” keys…

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The ridges on the “F” and “J” keys on the keyboard. They help your fingers find their location on the keyboard. This way you can type without having to glance down much easier. (Like below) ⌨️

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🥤 That hole in your soda can tab…

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Most of us open up cans of soda using the tab without giving the small piece of metal a second thought. However, if you rotate the tab, you can stick your straw through it and the straw won’t rise out of the can because of the bubbles in the soda. Now, you can sip away in peace! 🥤


🐞 Wooden coathangers…

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You might think that wooden coat hangers are simply a fancier version of the ones made from plastic or wire. But in reality, they actually have a unique purpose to them. These closet hangers aren’t just made from any wood. They’re from cedarwood, which is known to repel bugs and moths. Not to mention its refreshing scent and durability. These hangers are perfect for heavy clothing that is susceptible to damage from insects, such as coats and jackets or dresses. Especially those that were made from wool. 🐞


🍭 The hole at the top of lollipop sticks…

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This weird little hole emerging after you finish a candy has been bugging us for years. Who would ever put a whistle there if it doesn’t work?! It turns out, the reason for this lollipop stick hole has to do with manufacturing. When pouring hot, molten caramel into the mold, some of it seeps into this hole and hardens. It allows the candy to stay on the stick and not to fall off. 🍭


🦠 Brass doorknobs…

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A lot of doorknobs are made out of brass because it destroys bacteria. So, these types of doorknobs are essentially germ-proof. Perfect in a household with lots of kids.


👚 Why are buttons on women’s shirts on the left?

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Aside from the obvious use for buttons, you might have wondered why women’s shirts are on the left. Especially when you consider that most people are right-handed. Turns out, putting the buttons on the left of clothes is an old tradition carried over from a time when buttons represented your social and financial status. If you owned buttons, you probably were being dressed by a chambermaid, and the buttons on your left were on her right when she was facing you. 👚


👖 That tiny little pocket on your jeans (aka the 5th pocket)…

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A teeny-tiny pocket that’s seemingly pointless. If you’re wearing a good old’ pair of jeans, chances are it has a teeny-tiny pocket above the regular pockets on the front. The same place where you get your thumb stuck now and then. It was originally meant to tuck in a pocket watch. Levi’s points out it has served more purposes throughout the years, like storing coins, matches, and tickets. 👖


👷‍♂️ There’s a good reason for the slot at the end of your measuring tape…

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Most measuring tapes come with a metal stub with a small slot on the end. In case all your hands are full, hang the slot on a nail for measurement. If you look closely, you will also notice that the stub is slightly serrated on one side. It can be used to mark the points without a pencil. 👷‍♂️


🍝 That hole in pasta spoons…

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Even if you’re a pasta lover, it doesn’t mean you know what the hole in a spaghetti ladle is for. The hole is actually designed to serve as a portion measurement to make sure you are cooking the right amount. It should suffice for one portion of spaghetti, so if you’re cooking for two, make sure you let two handfuls of pasta go through it. 🍝


✈️ That tiny hole on airplane windows…

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If you fly a lot, then maybe you’ve rolled over the possible uses for the tiny hole in your airplane window a time or two before. It actually serves two purposes: first, it allows airflow through to keep from too much pressure building in the plane and busting the window as it rises in altitude, and second, it keeps the windows from fogging up with all the warm breath of the passengers. ✈️


🍷 The indentations at the bottom of wine and champagne bottles…

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Contrary to popular belief, the indentation at the bottom of a wine bottle doesn’t actually indicate the superior quality of the wine. Also known as a punt, back in the day, it used to be found in handblown wine bottles. The seam of the bottle at the bottom was pushed up in order to prevent an outward nub at the bottom that would keep a bottle from balancing upright. It’s also thought that the punt added to the bottle’s structural integrity. Since modern-day bottles are much stronger and machine-made, punts serve no practical purpose and simply remain a part of the tradition. 🍷


🦷 The different color bristles on your toothbrush…

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While you may have thought that the colorful bristles on your toothbrush are just yet another marketing gimmick, this seemingly pointless addition actually serves a real purpose. The blue color of your toothbrush bristles will fade right about the same time you need to get a new one. It’s a reminder that you aren’t exactly keeping things as clean and fresh as you could be. 🦷


⚠️ Brushes on escalators aren’t for shining shoes…

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The brushes on the sides of escalators aren’t for polishing your shoes. You may have been using these escalator brushes to clean your shoes, however, these bristles are actually a big safety feature. One of the biggest reasons for escalator mishaps is people getting their clothes and bags stuck in them when they stand too close to the sides. These nylon bristles play with your mind and make you keep your feet away from the escalator’s skirt panels, hence avoiding accidents. ⚠️


😑 The “expressionless face” looking plate on staplers…

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You may have noticed the metal plate toward the front end of your stapler. If you just assumed it’s there to act as reinforcement to bend the staples you’d be right, but did you know there’s more to it than that, and that your stapler actually has settings? No joke. The metal plate is called an anvil, and if you turn your stapler upside down you can adjust it by spinning the wheel until it lines up with the seemingly random hole in the metal plate. This setting is for a “temporary staple”, and will guide the arms of your staple outward instead of inwards, making it easier to pull out the staple later. 😑


🦷 The stripes in toothpaste…

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In the 1970s, cleaning the mouth to keep it healthy wasn’t enough; people wanted something in the toothpaste to freshen the breath, too. Aquafresh answered the call by adding a blue stripe to their paste to indicate that it could do both. After people began paying more attention to the health of their gums, the brand added a 3rd red stripe to their product, indicating that their paste now had triple action; cleaning, freshening, and plaque control. Even though solid white toothpaste offers the same benefits, companies continue to add stripes to their paste because it still sells. 🦷


👉 The number “57” on a bottle of Heinz Ketchup…

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Apparently, the embossed number “57” on Heinz’s bottle is what the company’s spokesperson calls a soft spot. “All you need to do is apply a firm tap where the bottle narrows and the ketchup will come out easier.” No need to punch that bottle too much! 👉


Screwdriver handle grooves are made so you can use it as a wrench too…

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A lot of screwdrivers can be easily slid through a wrench and are used to create more torque. This feature is especially helpful at complicated heights and angles.


👁 The tiny dot on an iPhone camera…

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While you might think that it’s some sort of miniature flash device or a fashion statement, it’s actually a microphone that helps record sound when you’re using the back camera. 👁


🇨🇳 Chinese food take-out boxes…

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If you have ever picked up Chinese food takeout and requested paper plates only to be judged, there’s a good reason for that. The Chinese food takeout boxes are made in such a way that when you unfold them, they become cardboard dinner plates. The best part? Your food is already on the platter, so you can just dig in. They’re looking at you like you’re crazy because you already got the plates! 🇨🇳


😳 That little pocket on women’s underwear…

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Many men would probably be surprised to learn that not all women know the specific purpose of the small pocket sewn into their panties! Although some women have been using them for storing tampons or other small, private items, this actually isn’t why it’s there. The ‘pocket’ is actually called a panty gusset, and was never intended to be a pocket. Rather, it is an extra piece of fabric sewn in for women’s hygiene and in the higher-end panties, the gusset is sewn completely shut. It becomes a ‘pocket’ when manufacturers are unwilling to spend the time and money to get those last few stitches in! 😳


💊 Child-proof medicine bottles…

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Child-proof prescription bottles generally have one or two raised sections above a ribbed base. These raised sections on a cap make it harder to remove the cap. However, if you don’t have to worry about the little ones at home, there’s a quick trick for hassle-free opening. When you remove the cap, flip it upside down and screw it back in. When the raised sections are pointing toward the bottom of the bottle, you can open the bottles easily. 💊


👟 Those tiny holes on Converse All-Stars…

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If you’ve ever owned a pair of Converse, you’ve probably noticed these two little holes on the side of the shoes. It turns out, these two are designed to allow you to get creative with lacing techniques, like zig-zagging them across the whole width of our feet. The second use of the holes is to provide much-needed ventilation. Another theory is that if the shoes don’t fit properly, you can tighten them up by using these two holes. 👟


🍅 Paper condiment cups…

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Have you ever asked yourself why fast-food restaurants use such tiny cups for ketchup and mustard? Based on the number of fries they serve in even their smallest size container, clearly, they are aware that you’ll be needing just a little bit more dipping sauce. So then, why the folded paper cups? It all comes down to the purpose of those folds. When you unfold the paper cups, they turn into small paper platters that can hold a great deal more sauce for all your dipping needs. Nifty, right? 🍅


🏄‍♀️ That loop on the back of men’s dress shirts…

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There are some shirts that contain a piece of cloth in the form of a loop. This was actually designed so you can hang your shirts on a hook in a dressing room or even a closet. It’s a perfect solution when you don’t have any hangers left. 🏄‍♀️


🤯 The top of a Tic Tac container…

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“Eat Tic Tacs the right way or don’t eat them at all,” that’s what I say! Ok, I don’t really say that, but 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 just lift the tab up and shake the container a couple of times until six of these fresh minty treats fall into the palm of our hands. 🤯


🥤 Lids on Starbucks to-go cups (and many other restaurant to-go cups)…

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The lids of many restaurant cups can double as coasters. Just flip them upside down and set the cup on them. It will keep your cup from dripping all over the place and could help prevent a mess. 🥤


🍞 Those multi-colored bread tags…

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If you collect bread tags for some odd reason, you might have noticed that they come in different colors. It turns out that the color tags indicate the day the bread was delivered. So, if you need to know how fresh your bread is, all you have to do is look at the color tag. 🍞


⚡️ Those little hooks on Apple laptop chargers…

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The little wings on an Apple charger can be flipped up to wind the cord, keeping it tangle-free in your bag. ⚡️


🛒 That loop on the back of a grocery cart…

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The grocery cart, of all things we use in our day to day life, should certainly be the most self-explanatory, or at least one would think. Sometimes the purpose of everyday items gets lost amongst its main function, which in this instance is to carry your groceries around while you shop. The manufacturers of these seemingly basic carts are more forward-thinking than we’ve given them credit for, though. While even our checkers and baggers don’t know it, there is a purpose behind those metal loops that frame the top fold-out section of our grocery carts; to hang your bags with light items like bread and eggs so they don’t get smashed among your heavier goods. Do your grocers a favor and show them how it’s done next time to make their lives easier. 🛒


🚗 Tiny rubber bumps on your tires…

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These little rubber bumps are so inconspicuous, you might never notice them unless checking the tread on your tire. Oddly enough, that is exactly what they are meant for. The little-raised edges inside the grooves of your tire’s tread are there to let you know when it’s time to change your tires. While many people still rely on the old penny head trick, an easy way to tell if you need to get to the tire shop is if the edges of your tread are even with the bumps. If they are, then you are driving on legally unsafe tires. If the edge is above that of the bump, you’re good to keep cruising for a while. 🚗


🎧 The different bands on plugs for audio equipment…

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The deep ridges or threads on audio-jacks aren’t just there for a tighter fit when plugged in. These bands are made of an insulating material used to protect the wires while the sound is being transmitted. Additionally, the number of bands indicates which end goes where. Three bands equate to one band per left and right ear, and the third band for grounding, and should be plugged into the stereo or amplifier, while 2 bands indicate the end that plugs into a device. 🎧


🔪 Bro, do you even know how Xacto Knifes work?

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Take a close look at the blade on your box cutter or utility knife. Notice the little score lines? You can break off the end of the blade to give yourself a fresh, sharp blade whenever you want. 🔪


🥶 You better believe there’s a reason for long neck bottles…

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Warm beer can be a total drag and ruin just about any drinking experience. And wouldn’t you know it, your own hand might be the beer-warming culprit. Carry the bottle by the neck instead to prevent the heat of your palm from affecting your brew! 🥶


👷‍♀️ Ohh, so THAT’s what that hole in elevator doors is for…

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When an elevator gets stuck, repairmen need some way to operate the thing manually. This is a keyhole that allows them the opportunity. Hopefully, you never have to see this thing serve its purpose! 👷‍♀️


💇‍♀️ Why is one side of a bobby pin all ziggy and zaggy like that?

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That’s an easy one! The grooved side is the bottom of the pin and should face toward the scalp. The grooves help the hairpin hold the hair better. 💇‍♀️


🥄 Want to eat some apple sauce but don’t have a spoon?

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Ever pack applesauce for lunch and forget utensils? Like a goon, you probably poured it into your mouth. Next time, do a little twisting and shaping
with the foil lid—it can easily become a spoon! 🥄


🍫 Why do Toblerone bars have a triangle shape?

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I always thought there was a reason behind the triangle shape, and it turns out I was right! Since Toblerone is made in Switzerland, many believe the triangular shape is a shout out to the nearby Swiss Alps. WRONG! Actually, the design of the chocolate bar entirely function over form. Yes, the pieces are in triangles with just enough space between them so that if you press on one of them with your thumb, it will snap off easily and leave you with the perfect sized serving. 🍫


Sources: (1) The Outline (2)Denim Hunters (3)Evoke (4)History (5) Today
(6) Science Alert (7)Allstate (8)Insider (9) HuffPost
(10)Independent (11)Foodbeast (12)Hangerworld (13)That’s Life (14) Best Life (15)Today
(16)Marie Claire (17) US Tape (18)Insider (19)Business Insider (20)Wine Spectator (21) Metro (22) Reed & Mansfield (23) Shareably (24) Thurmaston Dental (25) New York Post (26) Tire Meets Road (27) Independent (28) CBS News (29) The List, YouTube (30) Travel & Leisure (31) Cosmopolitan (34) Life Hacker (35) Southern Living (36) Tip Hero (38) Geeksmate
(39)A&M Tyres (40) Soundguys