10 Everyday Things You Never Knew Had a Purpose

by Shweta Anand2 years ago

6 The tiny square pockets on jeans date back to 1890 when they were first stitched into Levi’s “waist overalls.” These were called “watch pockets” and allowed people to carry around their small pocket watches in them. Today, they have a multitude of uses from storing coins and lighters to even carrying tickets. 
Watch pockets
Watch pockets

Have you ever wondered what the tiny pockets found on a pair of jeans are? These are a remnant of the earlier jeans designs, such as Levi’s “waist overalls,” that were originally meant to hold pocket watches. 

These watch pockets were a part of the patent made by Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis on 20 May 1873. However, it was not put into mass use until 1890, when they launched the “Lot 501” jeans that later became the model for the Levis 501 jeans still made today. 

Tracey Panek, who is Levi Strauss & Co’s very own historian, has stated that Levi Strauss, the founder of the company, was known to carry around a pocket watch in his business suit.

Therefore, it is possible that this pocket design was inspired by his personal habits. Today, however, these pockets have a number of uses such as holding coins, earphones, and even lighters. (1, 2)

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7 In the UK, the canes used by visually impaired people have specific colors for identification purposes. The white cane is typically used by people who are only visually impaired, while the white-and-red canes are an indication that its user may be both deaf and blind. 

white-and-red canes
White-and-red canes

Visually impaired pedestrians are known to use walking canes in almost all parts of the world. These canes are typically white in color, but some may use a color combination of white and red.

In many countries, however, these colors are anything but random. For instance, in the UK, the color of the canes is crucial in distinguishing if a pedestrian is sight-impaired or both hearing- and sight-impaired. 

According to the UK organization, Deafblind, the white cane is an indication that the pedestrian is visually impaired but can hear the passing traffic around them.

However, a red-and-white cane often indicates that the user is deafblind, meaning that they can neither see nor hear the people around them. This distinction is crucial to remember since a deafblind individual may be unable to hear the horns of passing vehicles, putting them at more risk than those who can. (1, 2)

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8 Some Australian road signs pose trivia questions to drivers on long stretches of roads to keep them from falling asleep. These can be seen on the Bruce Highway between Maryborough and Bundaberg in Queensland, Australia. The signs are placed five kilometers apart and have trivia questions about the state. 

Trivia Signs
Image credits: fartjockey/Imgur

No matter where you are driving, long stretches of roads can be dangerous due to the risk of drivers falling asleep at the wheel. In Australia, this issue is being combated with a unique idea. 

In 2013, the Royal Automobile Club Of Queensland (RACQ) backed the state of Queensland’s plans to place some intriguing road signs on long stretches of roads. These signs contain various trivia questions (and their answers) about Queensland, placed at a distance of five kilometers apart.

According to the RACQ, the signs are meant to help drivers and passengers (if any) think about the answers and discuss them, rather than feel too fatigued to drive. 

This road sign idea was one of the 41 community projects funded by the Department of Transport and Main Roads of the Queensland government. For the curious, these signs can be spotted on the Bruce Highway between Maryborough and Bundaberg in Queensland, Australia. (Source)

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9 The Olympic Rings are made up of five multicolored rings that are interlaced together. The colors used for them – blue, yellow, black, green and red on a white background – were meant to represent all participating nations. This was because these colors could be found in the national flags of all the participant countries at the time the rings were created. 

Olympic Rings monument
Image credits: kuremo/Shutterstock.com

In 1913, the founder of the International Olympic Committee, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, designed the iconic Olympic Rings symbol that was officially adopted a year later.

This design consisted of five interlocked rings on a white background and each of them was of equal dimensions with a specific corresponding color. These colors were, from left to right, blue, yellow, black, green, and red displayed on a white background.

Contrary to popular belief, however, the rings did not represent five chosen continents. Rather, the colors used on the rings held a special significance because they represented all the participating nations of the time.

This was because at least one of these colors could be seen on the national flags of the participating countries in the early 20th century when Coubertin designed the symbol. Even today, this symbol remains so iconic that it is used almost unchanged from its original design. (1, 2)

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10 Microwave ovens are a typical example of Faraday cages that keep electromagnetic radiations in (or out). The metallic mesh on the glass door has holes small enough to keep microwave radiation inside the heating area and still allow us to see through. This is also why most microwave ovens won’t work with the doors open. 

Microwave
Microwave

Microwave ovens use microwave rays to heat up food. These rays have a frequency of 2.4 GHz and are produced inside something called a “magnetron” attached to the oven. 

While the radiation produced this way is non-ionizing, it can still cause some damage if it comes in contact with the things outside. To combat this, the oven is designed as a Faraday cage that keeps the rays inside the heating area. But a crucial part of this design is the metallic mesh attached to the oven’s glass door. 

This mesh is made of numerous tiny holes that allow us to look through them and see the food being cooked. However, these holes are so tiny that while visible light can go through them (allowing us to look inside), microwave rays cannot because they are bigger than the holes. To further enforce this safety feature, most microwave ovens will just not operate unless the door is closed. (1, 2)

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