Since the first invention was patented in 1790 (a formula for fertilizer), people have been working hard to create items that make our lives easier. From the telephone to the trampoline, fun and functionality have come together in every way to solve life’s most mysterious riddles. Sometimes, though, it’s easy to miss the solution.
With that in mind, we’ve uncovered all the solutions you may have missed—items that have already been invented, with primary purposes that are overlooked every day. Prepare to have your mind blown. And for more surprising items you may be sleeping on, check out these 50 Genius Products That Will Improve Your Life.
Bottle cap discs
Have you ever noticed those small blue discs on the inside of your bottle caps? As it turns out, these discs actually act as a pressure seal, that, coupled with the pressure from the lid, acts as a gas-proof barrier to keep your soda fresh and carbonated.
If you have ever taken a computer class, chances are that you were taught to use the F and J keys to find your hand position on the keyboard. Well, that’s what the raised markings on those keys stand for. In typography circles, it’s known as the home row key position. And for a taste of celebrity inventions, check out these 30 Hilariously Bad Celebrity Products.
This maneuver will surely prove to be a soda-drinking game changer. Simply crack open your soda, flip around the tab, and you’ll have a small and sturdy slot to stick your straw into. Hey, it’s better than fighting the straw for one stable sip!
Typically, with every purchase of a new article of clothing, you receive a small swatch of fabric and sometimes even a button, if the new garment calls for one. While you may have guessed that this is an easy way to have extra fabric to create patches and alterations to the clothing, it actually serves a greater purpose.
In fact, these fabric samples are included in your purchase in order for you to wash and dry them as you would any other article of clothing, to make sure that the new blouse you bought will hold up in a normal wash cycle—without actually ruining said blouse. Amazing, right?! And for more miraculous inventions, check out these 30 Life-Changing Inventions That Were Totally Accidental.
Tiny padlock hole
While not all padlocks are made with this feature, a vast majority of them are designed with a tiny hole at the bottom (which you’ll see on the lower-left side of the above lock) that allows for quick and easy drainage when the lock is submerged under water.
Chinese takeout boxes
That’s right: The standard issue Chinese takeout box is more than just a box. All Chinese takeout boxes actually have a dual purpose. When completely taken apart, the Chinese takeout box becomes a plate to host your meal, so you don’t have to dig out the contents from its bowl-like container. The secondary purpose: Serving as a container to safely cart your food home in.
Lower oven drawer
Nearly ever oven on the market comes equipped with a small drawer at the bottom. When used correctly (no, it’s not just for storing pots and pans), it can actually be the ideal option to heat up your leftovers from the night before: that drawer is a broiler. And for more intriguing inventions, check out these 30 Products So Dumb They Might Be Brilliant.
Indent on wine bottle
Unlike other bottles, the bottom of bottles used to house wine have always maintained a large indent. Also known as the punt, this indent was historically created by glassblowers to add to the bottle’s structural integrity. (Though now that wine bottles are mass-manufactured and constructed with technologically enhanced designs, the dimple is used more out of a sense of nostalgia.)
Hole in spaghetti spoon
Any cook worth their salt will tell you that exactly one serving of pasta fits neatly into the hole in your spaghetti serving spoon. Though, be warned: this method only applies to spaghetti, and not other pastas you may serve with this special spoon.
Bobby pin grooves
The next time you slide a bobby pin into your hair for extra staying power, try this trick: turn the bobby pin around so that the grooved edges are facing inward towards your hair. Here’s why: The grooved edges actually provide a firmer grip against your hair, ensuring your hairstyle will last even longer.
Rubber strips on hanger
Those rubber strips are a lot more important than you think, as they are the only reason why that shirt has managed to stay on the hanger for as long as it has.
Pen cap hole
The invention of the hole located at the end of pen caps is a bit darker than you might imagine. Currently, in the United States alone, reportedly 100 people choke to death on pen caps every year. So, in order to prevent this from being a life-threatening mistake, scientists created a pen cap with a hole in the end that would allow for air to move through the cap, so as not to block the windpipe.
Those holes in the sides of your Chuck Taylors aren’t just for stylish flair. They’re actually created for ventilation, as the canvas used to make the shoes, when not washed, can quickly grow rather pungent.
Aluminum foil box tabs
To keep your roll of aluminum foil neat and organized in its box, take advantage of the tabs, located on the side of the box, that allow for you to better organize the foil without taking it out of the box. Just push them in and voila! If you’re curious, here’s a thorough guide on how to pull off this trick.
Small jeans pocket
Showing the age of this invention, Levi’s invented a smaller jeans pocket to keep cowboys in the 19th-century from shattering the pocket watches that were normally stored in the pocket of a waistcoat.
Measuring tape hole
Instead of attempting to find another person to hold the end of your tape measure, simply insert a nail into the hole on the end of your tape measure to hold it in place while you stretch the tape to the other end of the surface you wish to measure.
Hole on pot handle
Yes, there’s a purpose for that hole on the end of every pot and pan you own.
Instead of sticking the utensil you’re cooking with on the counter next to your boiling concoction, simply insert it in the hole located at the end of your pan handle to keep your space clean and organized!
Gas gauge arrow
On certain cars, you can actually pinpoint which side your gas pump is located without even getting out of the car. Before pulling into the wrong side of the gas pump, simply look down at your gas gauge for the arrow (as shown above) that points to which side contains your gas tank. Of course, if you own your car, you hopefully shouldn’t have to use this trick. But it works great for rentals!
Thick part of power cables
To keep your device from interfering with any other electrical sources or devices, this small cylinder located by the jack where you plug in the power cord to your device (as pictured above) works to block all outside interference.
Scores on utility knife blade
To keep your utility knife as sharp as possible, it was created with scores that actually allow you to remove each section to reveal a newer, sharper blade on its end.
Spike on tube tops
Spikes were installed on the outside of tube caps to allow consumers to puncture the seal on various products with ease. Just remove the tube top, turn it around, and push it through the foil keeping your toothpaste safe.
Hole in ruler
Makers of the ruler were thinking ahead with this invention, which allows its users to simply hang up the ruler on the wall when finished using it.
The dot beside the iPhone camera
For those of you who consider yourselves masters of the iPhone selfie, then you may have wondered about the function of the little dot in between the camera and the flash. Well, as it turns out, this dot is actually a tiny microphone, used to record audio (and cancel out noise, too) when users film videos with the reverse camera.
Indentation on Tic Tac cap
All this time, you might have been using the Tic Tac containers completely wrong. So, the next time you spring for a pack of fresh treats, utilize the indentation on the underside of the Tic Tac cap—which, when opened, is actually the exact size of a Tic Tac, so you can hold your mint firmly in place. Next time you want to take your Tic Tac out (say, to enjoy a meal uncorrupted by minty freshness), instead of tossing it, just use this trick.
Blue side of an eraser
If you’ve ever attempted to use the blue side of any standard eraser, then you might have noticed its ability to completely tear any normal piece of paper to shreds, due to the rough texture. Though its uses are limited—since standard paper is totally flimsy—consumers are able to take advantage of this often forgotten side on more durable pieces of paper that contain writings in pen’s ink.
Holes in the windows of airplanes
Small holes are drilled into airplane windows in order to keep in-cabin pressure stabilized. A keen eye will note that airplane windows are two-tied; the holes exist only on the interior pane. Without the holes, that window could crack. (Rest assured, though: you have nothing to worry about. Few things are more engineer-approved on the planet than air travel.) Basically, this ensures that in an instance when something causes strain on the window, it would be the outside window that would break, still allowing the passengers to breathe like normal.
Studs in jean pockets
First created by the inventor of Levi’s, Levi Strauss, the studs located on most jean pockets was actually installed at every place in the denim where he thought a tear or rip was most likely to occur since denim jeans were intended for much more longterm use back when they were first created.
Wings on Apple power cords
Though many are not made with this feature now, the wings on Apple power cords proved to be an effective way of keeping the cord from becoming tangled and then possibly retaining injuries to its exterior.
Hanging loop on back of shirt
As the story goes, these loops have adorned the backs of shirts since the 1960s, when the collegiate crowd wanted to keep their shirts fresh and wrinkle-free while hitting the gym. To combat the wrinkles created from folding up these shirts and sticking them in locker room compartments, companies began installing a single loop that allowed them to hang them from hooks while they were pumping iron in the gym, according to Southern Living Magazine.
Horizontal buttonholes on shirt
If you’ve never noticed this, look now: is your top buttonhole vertical or horizontal? If it’s made correctly, then it should be a horizontal hole, as first designers of the dress shirt noticed that the first and last button were the most difficult to keep buttoned throughout the day, so they changed the direction of the hole in order to ensure that these two places would never come undone.
Extra eyelets of sneakers
To ensure that your shoes fit snugly on your feet as you prepare for that long morning jog, the makers of sneakers actually installed a secret eyelet at the top of the shoes intended to create the “heel lock” method. If you’re not already enlightened, it’s a bit of a complex technique: here’s how to ensure you do it properly.
Screwdrivers are designed to work with wrenches
For those really tough jobs, the makers of the screwdriver have you covered. As it turns out, screwdrivers are designed with the ability to be able to fit around most wrenches, allowing for maximum grip on the rougher jobs.
Faraday shield on microwave
No, that Faraday shield isn’t just for decoration—it’s actually for protection. It allows for the microwave to keep electromagnetic waves inside of the machine, rather than spilling out into the surrounding space, where they could prove to be extremely harmful to your health. And for more information about the appliances you use in your home every day, check out these 27 Amazing Facts About Household Objects.
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