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16 Hardly-Known Facts You Didn’t Know About Things In Our Everyday Lives

6. Ancient Greek mathematician Hero of Alexandria invented the first vending machine which dispensed holy water after you put in a coin.

Hero of Alexandria and Holy Water Vending Machine
Image Source: Wikipedia Commons

The holy water vending machine was one of the many inventions of Hero of Alexandria recorded in his book Mechanics and Optics. The mechanism of the machine was that, when a coin was dropped in it, the coin fell upon a pan attached to a lever. The lever opened a valve which let some water flow out. The pan would continue to tilt with the weight of the coin until it fell off, when a counter-weight would snap the lever back closing the valve.(source)

7. The woman who invented chocolate chip cookies sold the idea to Nestlé in return for a lifetime supply of chocolate.

Ruth Graves Wakefield and Nestle Chocolate Chips
Image Source: Wikipedia Commons, verybestbaking

Ruth Graves Wakefield was an educator, business owner, a chef and an author. When her husband bought a lodge in the town of Whitman, Massachusetts in Plymouth County, and they both opened their business naming their establishment the Toll House Inn. There she cooked and served food, which soon gained popularity for her lobster dinners and desserts. When she found out that everybody liked her butterscotch nut cooking with ice cream, she decided to give them something different and so came up with the Toll House cookie, which is the chocolate chip cookie.(source)


8. The first webcam was invented to monitor a coffee pot. It was for people to avoid pointless trips to the coffee pot by providing a live 128×128 greyscale image of it.

Trojan Room Coffee Pot and Webcam
Image Source: like-a

A coffee machine known as the Trojan Room coffee pot was located next to the Trojan Room in the old Computer Laboratory of the University of Cambridge. A 128×128 pixel greyscale camera was set up there to provide a live picture of the coffee pot to all desktop computers on the office network so that the people working in the building would not have to go through the disappointment of finding the coffee pot empty when they got there. Two years later, when web browsers gained the ability to display images, it became clear to them that this would be an easier way to make pictures available to users, and soon became the web camera as we know now.(source)

9. Chocolate milk was invented by an Irishman while visiting Jamaica in the 1680s. Locals mixed cocoa with water – which Hans Sloane found nauseating – so instead he mixed it with milk to make it more pleasant. He brought the recipe to England, where it was made and sold by pharmacists as medicine.

Sir Hans Sloane
Image Source: alchetron

By 17th century, many people were trying to find more interesting ways to consume chocolate, by mixing it with spice, eggs, sugar and milk. Though it was not Sloane who first devised a recipe for mixing chocolate with milk, by 1750s, the chocolate milk made using his recipe was sold by a Soho grocer, Nicholas Sanders, under the brand name “Sir Hans Sloane’s Milk Chocolate” claiming it to be a medicinal elixir. By 19th century, the Cadbury Brothers sold tins of drinking chocolate whose trade cards also invoked Sloane’s recipe.(source)


10. Pineapples once costed $8000 each and were considered such luxurious novelty that those who couldn’t afford one would pay rent for a night to display at their parties.

Pineapples in Colonial Times
Image Source: greenblender

When Christopher Columbus took back some pineapples to Spain in 1493, the Europeans loved the taste of these exotic fruits. But, when they tried to grow them they failed because pineapples need tropical climates. So the only way they could get the fruit was by importing them from across the Atlantic Ocean, which apparently takes a very long time, not to mention the fruit could get bruised or rotten. And in the 1700’s, those living in the American colonies had to import them from the Caribbean islands, which meant they would be absurdly expensive, which was why they soon became a symbol of wealth and status. However, they were only eaten when there signs of rot and used for decorative purposes until then.(source)

11. The hair-regrowth medication, Rogaine, was first invented to treat ulcers, which it couldn’t, and hypertension. But, nobody knows how exactly it helps regrow the hair.

Rogaine Minoxidil
Image Source: skincare-au

Minoxidil, manufactured under the trade name Rogaine, is now an over the counter medicine that can be topically applied for treating baldness among men and women. It was first developed in the 1950s by the Upjohn Company to treat ulcers, which however it did not. Later when the company received permission to test the drug as medicine for hypertension, the results showed unexpected hair growth. After many trials and experiments, the FDA approved the drug for treating baldness in 1988.(source)


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