Everyday we go about our lives buying and using many things without which our life just simply seems impossible. Be it the humble pineapple, the ubiquitous vending machines, or the yummy chocolate chip cookies, everything in our lives has a story of its own, interesting and fascinating. Here are some such facts about everyday things that you probably didn’t know about before.
1. The average pencil holds enough graphite to draw a line about 35 miles long or to write roughly 45,000 words.
The pencil nibs are made of a mixture of graphite and clay. Graphite is a crystallized form of carbon which comes off in tiny flakes the size of thousandths of an inch to stick to the fibers of a paper when you write. And apparently, if you kept drawing a line until the whole pencil is finished, you would have covered 35 miles. But, of course, it also depends on the hardness of the pencil you are using, with the soft nibbed ones finishing faster than the hard ones.(source)
2. T-shirt was invented in 1904 and marketed to bachelors who couldn’t sew or replace buttons.
The origin of t-shirts dates as far back as to the beginning of 20th century. In 1904, there was an advertisement made by Cooper Underwear Company to sell their new products to bachelors without a wife or sewing skills to sew back the buttons on their shirts. The t-shirts back then were completely white to be worn under a normal shirt as an undershirt. By the 1940’s, the Americans picked up the trend as well and were soon used by members of the US Navy to be worn under their uniform.(source)
3. Barcode readers read the white parts not the black.
The barcode readers work by emitting rays of light onto the barcode of the product to be scanned. When the light falls on the barcode, the dark areas absorb the light whereas the white areas reflect it back. A waveform is then generated that corresponds to the light that was reflected, which is then decoded by the barcode reader in a manner similar to the way Morse code dots and dashes are decoded, giving you the information about the product.(source)
4. In a deck of cards, the king of hearts is the only king without a mustache.
The four kings in the typical deck of cards are associated with four kings. The king of clubs is Alexander, King of Macedonia; the king of spades is King David from the Bible; the king of diamonds is Julius Caesar; and the king of hearts is Charles VII, the King of France. The king of hearts is also called the “suicide king” because he appears to be sticking his sword into his head, which was actually a result of bad copying by English card makers. It is the only king card among the four without a mustache.(source)
5. Putting candles on birthday cakes dates back to the ancient Greeks, who often burned candles as offerings to their many gods & goddesses. It was their way to pay tribute to the Greek moon goddess, Artemis. Round cakes symbolized the moon. Candles were added to represent the reflected moonlight.
The custom of ancient Greeks to put candles in round baked cakes wasn’t the only instance in history where birthdays were celebrated that way. Long ago in Germany, too, people used to put candles on cakes as a tradition for religious reasons. They would place a huge candle in the middle of the a cake to symbolize “light of life”.(source)