14 Simple Things Originally Invented for a Different Purpose

Inspiration | Dec. 09, 2017

Many things are just like people: they have their own history, characteristics, and even secrets. We, in our turn, don’t consider some of these details important, or we use something in a different way to its original purpose.

Bright Side wants to show you 14 interesting things whose original purposes never entered your mind.

14. Rings

Almost every hand in the world now wears at least one ring as a sign of marital status or as a beautiful accessory. Nevertheless, a ring used to have a more practical purpose: the nobility used rings as a seal, archers protected their fingers from bowstring injuries, while needlewomen — from needle pricks. Later on, a ring showed the social status of its wearer: only noblemen were allowed to wear golden rings.

13. Holes in EarPods

The holes in earphones have a very important mission: they allow air to circulate through the speakers to increase low frequencies. If you (just like us) don’t fully understand what this is all about, that’s ok. All you need to know is that the bass sound is deeper, and the whole quality of the sound is much better.

12. Perfume

Today’s men’s fragrances were originally used as medicine. Eau de cologne was a miracle item: it helped against poisons, fleas, and even the plague. Drinking at that time was also different, and patients could have only 5 perfume drops per glass of water.

11. Tube top pin

We rarely pay attention to the small knob on toothpaste or cream tops. Nonetheless, it has the important purpose of piercing the protective membrane. Well, it seems we don’t need to rush around the house searching for scissors.

10. High heels

Many people already know that, in the past, high heels were a part of male fashion. But few of us realize that it was originally not at all about fashion. The first "crash testers" were soldiers. Heels guaranteed a good grip on the horse stirrups. Only later did high heels make their move from the military arena to the fashion world.

9. A round hole in a ruler

Surely we all used to encircle these holes just to kill some time during a boring lesson. It’s also obvious that we thought we were using it for its intended purpose. But the true purpose is much simpler: the holes in rulers were created to hang them up on the wall. Now, tell us about trendy organizers...

8. Eye shadows

This essential makeup instrument was originally created to protect one’s eyes from the scalding sun. In hot countries, people used stibium, while sea travelers protected their eyes from the sunbeams reflected from the water using scorched cork as an eye shadow.

7. Holes in LEGO toys

It turns out that the holes LEGO toys have in their design have a very important purpose: to protect a child from suffocation if he or she swallows a piece. These holes allow the air to circulate and get to the lungs, so there is a much smaller possibility of fatal suffocation.

6. Spam

Undesirable messages made us invent spam folders and the “this is spam“ button. It’s interesting that originally the word just meant...”ham.“ The army used to consume canned meat during World War 2, but later on too much ham remained uneaten. The “SPAM” trademark (a blending of the words ”SPiced“ and ”hAM") was everywhere: on the radio, in the newspapers, and in the streets. So the word finally became nominal.

5. T-shirts

T-shirts are now worn by men, women, kids, and even pets. But this kind of clothing was once used only by men as underwear: soldiers wore T-shirts under their regular uniform. Later on, wearing a T-shirt meant being a rebel. Sweatshirts became part of casual outfits only at the beginning of the ’80s.

4. Crimped sides of hairpins

Do you usually place hairpins with their crimped sides up? Turns out, if you use the pin the opposite way (with the crimped side down), it will hold your hair more firmly. All girls are now in 2 different teams. But those who use hairpins with the smooth side up think it’s easier to adjust them exactly to their liking.

3. Gasoline

Gasoline was not exactly invented, but the story began with the "automotive combustion engined carriage." This was the first patent name of the car, invented by the German engineers Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler. The gasoline they used in their invention could be found in any pharmacy as a stain remover and sanitizer.

2. Cranky plane wings

Such cranks are called "winglets," and their purpose has nothing to do with aesthetics. When the plane is in the air, it creates small twisters because of the difference between pressure levels in the upper and lower parts of the wing. Such phenomena can be dangerous for the plane itself and for all the vessels following it. The winglets cancel the twisters.

1. Rings on headphone jacks and discs on rotor helicopters

As a bonus, we would like you to see 2 things, the purpose of which you surely haven’t even thought of. Nevertheless, these details were not created accidentally.

Rings on headphone jacks. We usually think it’s a part of the design or a means of better transmitting the signal. However, each section represents different components of the device. If you have 3 rings on your audio jack, it means that your device will be producing stereo sound (a separate section for the left and right speakers), plus your earphones are designed to have the microphone function.

The ball or disc above the rotor on helicopters. These are fire control raiders. Essentially, they are designed to provide information, such as elevation and range, to the fire control system in order to calculate the fire solution. In other words, it detects information on how to direct weapons in the exact way to hit the desired target.

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