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Bright Ideas · The Surprising Reasons Why 7 Everyday Items Have Strange Features
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The Surprising Reasons Why 7 Everyday Items Have Strange Features

If you’ve ever wondered what the impractically tiny pocket on your jeans is for, this post is for you!

Back in June, as I was doing research for a post about 9 Secrets About Everyday Items That Will Make Your Life Easier, I learned a lot of interesting and practical information, from the proper way to hang your toilet paper roll (over, for hygiene reasons!) to the built-in lid holder on the handle of the Instant Pot. But I also learned a lot of less practical (but just as interesting!) information about the features of other items everyday items too!

The surprising purposes of many of the features I learned about were related to the time period in which the items were invented, which the history buff in me found fascinating! In fact, I found these tidbits and factoids to be so interesting that I couldn’t resist the urge to share them with you, so that’s exactly what I’ll be doing in today’s blog post. 🙂

These fun facts may not change the way you use these common items, but they’ll certainly have you saying, “Wow! Who knew?!” They’ll also provide you with some interesting trivia you can share with your family and friends, so I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! 🙂

7 Features Of Everyday Items That Have Surprising Purposes

1. Bobbles On Winter Hats

The bobbles on top of knitted winter hats certainly have an aesthetic appeal, but their origin was more about function than fashion. Sailors were the first to add bobbles to the tops of their hats, which offered protective cushioning that prevented them from getting painful knocks on the head during rough weather out at sea!

2. Holes In Pen Caps

If you’re an avid chewer of pen caps, then you’re in luck, because pen caps were designed with you in mind! Pen caps almost always have a hole in the top of them, which is actually a safety feature designed to allow air to pass through the cap in the event that it gets swallowed.

Even if the pen cap were to get stuck in your throat, air would still be able pass through the hole and prevent you from suffocating. Unfortunately, people accidentally swallow pen caps more often than you’d think (especially young kids), so keep them away from kids and rethink that chewing habit!

3. Margins On Paper

If you’re like me and always assumed that the margins on paper were space for note-taking (or for feedback from a teacher or editor), you were wrong! Margins have existed nearly as long as paper itself, and they were originally intended to preserve the text in the (quite likely) event that rats were to nibble away at the edges of the page.

4. Buttons On The Left Side Of Women’s Clothing

I’ve always been a lefty myself, but I know that the majority of people are right-handed, so I’ve always wondered why the buttons on women’s clothes are always on the left side. It turns out that the location of the buttons is an old tradition that originated in a time when the presence of buttons at all indicated a certain social and financial status!

If you were a woman who owned clothing with buttons, then you were likely of the same status and class of women who had chambermaids to dress them. Having the buttons on the left side of women’s clothing made that particular task a little easier for them!

5. That Tiny Pocket On Jeans

I’ve always been curious about that tiny pocket that accompanies the normal-sized pockets on many pairs of denim jeans. It turns out that bafflingly small pocket is another relic from a bygone era, an era where most folks carried a pocket watch!

But you consider that jeans were invented back in the late 19th century (on May 20th, 1873 to be precise), it makes sense that the design would accommodate an item that everyone carried with them in those days. Maybe it’s time for an updated design that includes a pocket big enough to hold today’s timepiece of choice: the smartphone! 😉

6. Bumps On Computer Keyboards

According to Typing.com, the average typist using all ten fingers types more than 50 words per minute (WPM), or roughly twice as fast those who “peck” with two fingers and average 27 WPM. But your keyboard includes a handy feature that can help you to be a speedier typist, in the form of the small bumps placed on the F and J keys on your keyboard.

These bumps make it possible to position your left and right hands correctly (with your pointer fingers resting on the F and J keys) without having to look down at the keyboard. It’s a handy feature for everyone, and it’s especially helpful for those who are visually impaired.

7. The Hole At The End Of A Measuring Tape

I never knew that the slender hole on the metal edge of a measuring tape is meant to hook onto a nail or screw! This is particularly useful if you’re measuring something large and don’t have anyone to hold the other end of your tape measure.

Just tap a nail into the surface of whatever you’re measuring and hook your tape to it to prevent the end from moving around on you. Easy peasy! 🙂

Have you wondered about the origins of mysterious features on other items?


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    Hi, I’m Jillee!

    I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

    Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

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