We see so many different things on a daily basis without knowing that their purpose is completely different than what we think. Learning the real story behind some of the most common items we all have at home will surely open your eyes, and quite possibly, make you feel a little silly for not knowing what they were for in the first place. Ready for a total game changer? Scroll down and prepare to be amazed.
The First Webcam Was Created Specifically to Watch Coffee Brew
Believe it or not, the first webcam was created to monitor a coffee pot. Scientists Dr. Paul Jardetzky and Dr. Quentin Stafford from the University of Cambridge hated waiting around on coffee and made it a top priority to alleviate this problem. They decided to set up a camera to record the coffee pot and upload it on the web. This setup intended to reduce the amount of trips people would take back and forth to check if the pot was done brewing coffee.
Now they could always know when the pot was ready for serving or needed to be refilled. Oh how far the webcam has come!
Modern Fridges Have Magnetic Doors Because Children Used to Get Stuck Inside
It turns out that in the 1950s, there were many cases of kids getting stuck in refrigerators and the Refrigerator Safety Act had to be created in 1956. Before there were magnetic doors on fridges, the doors could only open from the outside by a latch. But this made it possible for toddlers to open and get trapped inside. Mechanical door latches had to be banned and replaced, and that's why your refrigerators all have magnetic seals!
Who knew the backstory behind something as simple as magnetic refrigerator doors could be so grim? Good to know refrigerators come child locked now.
M&Ms Were Invented for Soldiers Fighting in WWI
M&M's are some of the most beloved chocolate candies around; they're bite-size, colorful, and covered in a unique crispy outer shell made of sugar. But how did the idea for this chocolate come about? The son of the candy company, Mars, noticed that soldiers in the Spanish Civil War ate a ton of British candy, specifically Smarties, because of their durability. He wanted to create something similar for soldiers in World War I and consequently invented M&M's!
M&M's were specifically created to handle high temperatures and not melt, while the outer shell would simultaneously protect the chocolate, a candy essentially capable of withstanding war.
Lysol Was Marketed as a Birth Control for Women
You know that cleaning product many people use to disinfect their homes? The one that probably makes you want to open all of the windows in your home after you use it? Well, women used to insert that same product into their bodies. Back when real and regulated birth control was illegal, Lysol advertised its product as an over-the-counter contraceptive for women. As you can imagine, this was dangerous and unhealthy.
The Lysol used by women as birth control was even stronger than the one we use to clean today. This practice caused women physical damage and led to many passing away.
ATM Pins Are 4 Digits Because the Inventor's Wife Couldn't Remember More Than That
John Shepherd-Barron wanted to retrieve money anywhere in the world and at any time in the day. At this moment he got the brilliant idea for a machine that could dispense cash just like a vending machine. He then proposed that each person would have a six-digit PIN for access because he could remember his six-figure army number. But time and time again, his wife could only remember four digits.
Due to her difficulty remembering, they decided a six-digit code was too long and opted for a four-digit PIN number.
The Inventor of the Chocolate Chip Cookie Sold Her Recipe to Nestlé for $1
Ruth Graves Wakefield was an American chef, famous for her creation of the first chocolate chip cookie. Apparently, she had taken a trip to Egypt and became inspired by the flavors there, so when she returned home she began experimenting with different recipes. She started serving chocolate chip cookies and the nationwide craze began. Nestlé was a giant chocolate company and approached her with an offer, Ruth gave her recipe up and in exchange received one dollar and a lifetime supply of Nestlé chocolate.
As simple as it sounds, adding chocolate was a genius idea and even became popularized globally.
Wealthy People Used to Buy Stick-On Moles Made of Silk, Velvet, and Mouse Skin
The beauty standards from the 18th century to now are worlds apart. Today many people complain and are embarrassed by any facial moles they have. It's possible to find many cosmetic procedures to remove them, but people used to view them very differently. A beauty mark on your face was seen as a gorgeous and bold fashion statement. People went as far as to make them out of silk, velvet, and even mouse skin.
These stick-on moles were once so popular that they became a way to distinguish wealthy people because they had extra income to spend on fancier fake moles made of luxurious materials.
Birthday Candles Come From an Ancient Greek Tradition Used to Honor the Gods
There is a theory that putting candles on birthday cakes dates all the way back to Ancient Greek times. Apparently, it was to honor the Greek goddess of the moon, Artemis. A circular cake would be baked to represent the moon and candles would be added and lit with fire to symbolize the moonlight. Some even say the smoke from the candles was believed to carry your prayers all the way to the gods and goddesses.
Next time you blow out your birthday candles, just remember a greek god or goddess could possibly be hearing your birthday wish!
In England, Chocolate Milk Was Initially Used as Medicine
In the 17th century, an Irish botanist named Sir Hans Sloane visited the island of Jamaica and was served a peculiar drink. The local Jamaicans brewed hot water and mixed it with fresh cacao shavings. He couldn't stomach the taste but had the idea of sweetening it with sugar and milk. He brought the idea to England and began serving it as medicine first. It eventually became just a refreshing drink, and there you have it, chocolate milk was officially born!
Now chocolate milk is one of the most popular drink choices for most kids.
The First Vending Machines Were Created to Dispense Holy Water
Vending machines have had a fascinating evolution in their purpose. The inventor of the original vending machine, Hero of Alexandria, was an ancient Greek mathematician who had a specific intention for the devices. Today they dispense soda, chips, candy, and mostly junk food items. However, he initially created them to offer holy water to ordinary people. It required just one coin to be inserted, and then it would drop inside and onto a pan that would open a valve, ultimately dispensing holy water.
It may be hard to find dispensable holy water; better opt for some ice cream instead.
Due to a Production Mistake, the King of Hearts Is the Only One Without a Mustache
There are four kings in a deck of playing cards, but few have noticed that only one king is missing a mustache. It happens to be the king of hearts, who represents King Charles VII. Maybe it's because of his superior personal hygiene or preference for a shaven face? Sadly, this wasn't an intentional design choice but simply a mistake! The designer forgot to draw his mustache, and no one caught it before the playing cards went into production.
Whenever you play cards, you can show your friends just how observant you are and point out this small detail most people probably don't even notice.
Treadmills Were Created as a Torture Device
If you hate the treadmill and dread everytime you have to go on it for exercise, there's a good reason why. Your body might just sense that the now-popular machine was once used as a torture device! That's right; the origin of the treadmill is not a pretty one. It was created as a way to punish prisoners. Those subject to it had to run for hours on end.
And if you're wondering whether people lost their lives from this punishment, the answer is yes. So next time you don't feel like getting on the treadmill, console yourself with this fact.
Pineapples Used to Be a Luxury Item Worth up to $8,000 Each
Pineapples are a perfect tropical summer fruit. Nowadays, you can see them on almost any fruit platter at most parties or find them lining grocery stores. But this wasn't always the case. Pineapples were once considered a highly luxurious item worth up to $8,000 each. Only those who were very wealthy would put them on display at parties with the sole intention of demonstrating just how affluent they really were.
Pineapples weren't so common to find back then, so they had to be explicitly shipped to the buyer from the Caribbean.
Barcode Scanners Don't Actually Read the Black Lines
A barcode was always assumed to be the collection of black parallel lines that a barcode scanner reads. They are typically printed with black bars on a white background but did you know the white background is just as crucial for it to work? You can't have a complete barcode without the white empty spaces in between. In a nutshell, the scanner will read the pattern of black and white bars and translate them into a code, which is then translated into various information!
Now next time your cashier is scanning your food items at the checkout line, you can enlighten them with this tidbit of interesting information.
Chainsaws Were Originally Invented to Assist With Childbirth
Childbirth isn't always all rainbows and butterflies; and back in the day, it rarely - if ever - was. If you had any doubt about that before, those could be put to rest with the following unfun fact: chainsaws were invented to help in childbirth. That's right. Before the caesarian section became common, doctors used a different method to help get children out of the birth canal when they were stuck or in a breech position.
That method was called "symphysiotomy" and involved sawing away at the birthing woman's bone or cartridge to make room for the struggling baby. To top it all off, this was done without anesthesia.
Mcdonald's Famous Chicken Nuggets Were Inspired by a Health Kick
In the 1970s, the general public became more health conscious and concerned with their red meat intake. McDonald's immediately took note and wanted to introduce a healthier alternative to their menu where people who were dieting could still eat at Mcdonald's. They started offering chicken in the form of their infamous chicken nuggets. Little did they know this would become a phenomenon and what they would be known for worldwide.
Though they are supposedly made out of white meat chicken, McDonald's McNuggets are far from healthy, so definitely don't rely on them for a well-balanced meal.
Today's iPhone Is a Million Times More Powerful Than the 1969 Computer NASA Used to Get Us to Space
iPhones have changed how we communicate with each other, from face-time to playing text message games and having social media apps easily accessible; we're more connected than ever. But they're capable of so much more than we ever imagined. Not only are they able to connect us to family members living across the world, but they're also essentially strong enough to send someone all the way to the moon!
An iPhone is one million times more powerful than the Apollo Guidance Computer, the technology NASA was using in 1969 to launch astronauts into space!
Coca-Cola Makes a Really Good Drink... And Pesticide
Coca-Cola sounds like a refreshing drink on a hot and sunny day. Not only for a human but apparently for plants too. Hundreds of farmers in India have reported using Coca-Cola and Pepsi to spray on their plants as a pesticide. They shared that it's much cheaper than local pesticides and has proven to be just as effective in controlling crop pests without actually poisoning and killing the insects.
Who knew the soft drink could have so many alternative uses?
Rice Is the Oldest Food That's Still Eaten Today
Rice is a staple in almost any cuisine all around the globe, and it also happens to be one of the oldest foods still eaten. Rice cultivation can be traced back over 10,000 years ago, and the consumption goes back to the Neolithic era. The superior food choice has withstood time and transformed dishes in different cultures. Now it's easily found in stores on any street or served in almost any restaurant.
Rice can stay good for years, so there's no wonder it is so widely popular. Kind of cool to think you could be eating the same exact thing as your ancestors.
Plastic's Harmful BPA Was Used to Treat Menopause
Remember around a decade ago when we suddenly all learned that there was a harmful ingredient in some plastic products called BPA? Suddenly, all of the reusable bottles sold in stores had huge tags on them exclaiming, "BPA Free!" We wouldn't dare spend money on a bottle that didn't have a label. Well, we've got some crazy news: the harmful BPA was once given to women as a treatment for menopause.
You read that correctly. The toxic ingredient that helps to harden plastic and is now banned in many countries across the globe was once given to women as medicine. Pretty wild, right?
Pillows Used to Be Made of Stone, Ivory, and Wood
Humans are used to having lovely fluffy pillows to sleep on. They are the key to a good night's sleep, waking up without neck pain, and ultimately feeling refreshed. Unfortunately, this wasn't always the case. Pillows in ancient Egypt used to be made of stone, ivory, and wood commonly referred to as headrests. They were designed to keep the head elevated while sleeping because Egyptians considered the head an essential part of a human, holding the soul.
Soft pillows allegedly stole the energy from one's body while they slept. Nobody wants that, so better get to ordering a stone pillow!
Ketchup Was a Popular Medicine in the 1800s
The 1800s must have been a weird time. Dr. John Cook Bennett proposed the idea of selling ketchup as a medicine; he claimed it could cure things like diarrhea, jaundice, and indigestion. He even made a recipe for it in the form of 'tomato pills,' and it quickly took off. The ketchup craze began and became one of the most popular drugs. Stories of healing were everywhere; this magical tomato concoction could allegedly cure people with severe stomach pain.
Although ketchup is no longer known for its medicinal and healing properties, it does make french fries taste infinitely better.
The Spartans Used Bread as Napkins
The Spartans during the ancient Greek Empire had a custom of eating solely with their hands, which can become very messy. So, they would take these small pieces of kneaded dough, known as apomagdalie, and use them as a napkin! They would wipe their fingers and mouth on this dough. Eventually, they even switched to using sliced bread. Although it sounds slightly repulsive, it was a sort of snack and napkin all in one.
Although now napkins are mostly made of cloth or paper, bread isn't that bad of an idea.
This Island Is Only Home to Pigs - And You Can Swim With Them
There is a little place called Pig Beach on an island in Exuma, in the Bahamas. It has become a modern-day tourist attraction of fascinated people flocking to see the island's only inhabitants. Not a single person lives here; instead, it homes dozens of pigs that like to swim all day in the ocean. No one is quite sure how they got to the island, but they've created a home abundant with little piggies.
Traveling to this island and paying to swim with the pigs yourself is possible! What an excellent way to start your day and go for a swim, not with dolphins, sharks, or fish, but with pigs.
McDonald's Used to Serve McPizza
McDonald's is known for their burgers and even chicken nuggets, but did you know that this fast-food chain used to sell pizza? In the 1980s, they introduced McPizza to the menu for the first time, but by 2000, all locations discontinued it but one in Orlando, Florida. The preparation time, a whopping eleven minutes, was way too long for their preparation liking and would ruin their reputation for fast service.
Don't get your McHopes up, it doesn't look like they'll make a comeback any time soon.
CDs With Higher Storage Were Created to Play Beethoven
The original storage space for a CD was one hour of audio. However, the vice president of Sony insisted that compact discs need to be able to hold at least 74 minutes worth of music, and there is a particular reason why. It turns out his wife was a huge Beethoven fan and wanted to be able to listen to his ninth symphony on one CD without having to switch to a second.
So thank Beethoven for not only his contribution to music but his influence on creating CDs with ample storage!
Coconut Water Can Be Used in IV Fluids
When you think coconut, you probably don't immediately think of an IV. You might think of eating coconuts on a beach on vacation. Or maybe even beauty products like conditioner or oil. But coconut water has another fantastic quality. It's proven so hydrating that it can be used as an IV fluid in small volumes. Some doctors allege that coconut water is identical to human blood plasma, so it is safe to use for rehydration therapy.
Although coconut water IV therapy hasn't been adequately studied, it sounds like a great idea. Coconut infusions, anyone?
Houseplants Have Been Shown to Prevent and Reduce Depression, Anxiety, and Insomnia
House plants are always a great touch to add to your home, not for reasons you may think. Yes, they're pretty and make the ambiance much cozier, but that's not all they bring. Plants can improve your mental and physical health significantly. Rooms that contain plants have about 60% less airborne mold and bacteria than rooms without them. Research has shown that they can help prevent and reduce depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
So essentially, buy and fill your house with lots and lots of plants, and maybe you'll need less therapy. At least it's definitely worth a try.
Dogs Aren't Actually Colorblind
A longstanding theory and research claim all dogs are color blind, but it is officially time to debunk this. Just because dogs cannot see the same variety of colors that humans can, it doesn't mean they can't see colors at all! They do not perceive colors as rich as humans but can still differentiate most shades; the saturation might not be as intense. Interestingly enough, our canine friends can see blue well!
Dogs can see incredibly well in dim light, and their sense of smell is incomparable to a human's.
Doctors Used to Prescribe Chocolate for Different Illnesses
Francisco Hernandez was the first European scientist to visit the Americas. He traveled through Mexico way back in the 1570s and noticed the Aztec people were using some substance he was unfamiliar with. He discovered that it was cacao and was heavily used throughout the Mesoamerican culture. This led to his curiosity about how it could benefit people he knew back in his hometown. He considered introducing the consumption of cacao for medicinal issues like indigestion, fevers, or even a cure for heart disease!
Oh, how fun it would be to have a prescription for hot chocolate.
Throwing Rainboots Is a Real Sport With an Annual Championship Competition
Rainboots or wellies, the term used in the United Kingdom, are used to protect your feet against the rain. They make it possible for you to comfortably walk through puddles and never have to experience the feeling of soggy socks. But what if there were an alternative use for rain boots? Well, there are, in a 'Wellie Wanging' competition! People gather in certain parts of the world and compete to see who can throw their wellies off the furthest.
Who knows, maybe it'll be the next new competitive sport in the Olympics.
Popcorn Used to Be Prohibited in Movie Theatres
When one thinks of a movie theatre, the smell of popcorn immediately floods the senses. How can one enjoy a movie on the big screen without chowing down on the salty and buttery goodness of popcorn? Well, that only came to fruition starting in the 1990s. Before then, movie theatres prohibited all food inside. They even believed that snacks would completely ruin the luxurious experience of being in a movie theatre.
Glad to know movie theatres quickly realized how big of a mistake this was because eating popcorn is one of the best parts of going to any movie.
The Last Letter of the Alphabet Was in Fact Not Z
The English language is interesting and complicated; here is another example of why. The alphabet may end with the letter "Z," but it wasn't the last letter to come about; it was the letter "J." Originally, the letters "J" and "I" were interchangeable, sharing the same sound. But one Italian grammarian thought it was necessary to distinguish between the two, creating different sounds. Therefore "J" officially became its own standing letter.
The letter "J" was initially invented for the Italian language! What a sad world that would be without learning all of this linguistic history.
Froot Loops Are All the Same Flavor
Froot Loops have long been a favorite cereal primarily targeted toward children. The rainbow colors made it aesthetically pleasing to eat and felt like a big bowl of fruit-flavored treats. However, Froot Loops have been fooling everyone! People were definitely under the assumption that the cereal colors represented different flavors like orange, lemon, blueberry, lime, grape, and cherry. Tragically the various colors don't matter at all; they are all the same flavor.
This might be the biggest deception of all time, but at least you're guaranteed to get a 'fruit' flavor in each bite.
Cows Experience Separation Anxiety When Away From Their Besties (yes, Really)
Cows are mostly known for what they can produce and provide for human consumption but do humans ever stop and think about what a cow needs? They're known to be sensitive animals that experience mental constraints like humans, such as sadness and anxiety. Cows can also develop deep connections with other cows, just like best friends! They even go through separation anxiety when they are away from their best pals for too long.
Studies have even shown cows' stress levels go down when they are around their besties, which is so adorable.
Mr. Rogers Started Announcing Whenever He Fed His Fish After a Blind Fan Expressed Concern Over the Animals
Mr. Rogers was known for his popular show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, in which he educated children on having good values and skills through his gentle and thoughtful nature. He often got feedback from his viewers and fans and always tried to incorporate any constructive criticism into his show. Once a blind viewer was curious about Mr. Roger's fish; he decided to mention in every episode when he was feeding them and that they were okay.
The consideration of different people and dedication to displaying kindness was why Mr.Rogers was so well-liked!
Sour Patch Kids and Swedish Fish Have All the Same Ingredients, Except One
Sour Patch Kids and Swedish Fish have always been advertised as two different products, and people could've sworn they tasted differently, too. However, when someone compared the ingredient lists, they realized they were almost identical. The only difference is that the Sour Patch Kids have an extra sour sugar coating added to the outside! What is the world coming to, first being fooled by Froot Loop flavors and now by these candies? This is getting out of hand.
Your world may be turned upside down now, but either way, they are both delicious treats.
Japanese Police Arrest Resisting Citizens by Wrapping Them Inside a Futon
When someone is misbehaving or troublesome in public, and the police are needed, a few different tactics are usually used. Most have heard of receiving a ticket or an expensive fine or being handcuffed, but Japan has a unique approach. Allegedly, the Japanese police will use a futon to wrap the person up like a burrito, if you will, and then carry them to a police station in that position.
This is precisely to avoid the use of unnecessary violent force, and it's proven to be effective for them.
The First Computer Mouse Design Was Made From Wood
Douglas Englebart had an epiphany in the 1950s that would soon be adopted worldwide. He devised the first idea for a computer mouse made of wood with two small wheels and one button. He called it a mouse because it resembled one with the wire coming out of the back. Little did he know this would have a global impact, and new replicas of his creation would be used in every office to this day.
This invention represents how creative and genius the human mind can be.
If Gravity Didn't Exist, We Could Drive to Space in Just One Hour
If you ever pondered the thought of driving to the moon, this astronomer already did. Fred Hoyle was the first person to share that if a car could drive upwards at a steady pace of 60mph or 95km/h, it would only take one hour to get to space. If only there weren't gravity, this could be a real experience! Although you would still face another problem, the lack of air for your lungs and where you would fill up your car with fuel.
Maybe sometime soon in the future, a quick road trip to the moon will be in the cards.
Women's Voices Have Been Getting Progressively Lower for the Last Five Decades
Scientific studies have shown that there has been a fundamental drop in the frequencies of women's voices. Researchers could hear an audible difference between recordings of women speaking in the 1940s and 1990s. One theory for this was the widespread use of contraceptive pills that could lead to hormonal changes. However, they settled on one other reason. They speculated that as power dynamics changed between men and women, women adopted deeper tones to show authority and dominance.
Another study showed that a lower voice is perceived as more powerful, leading to more success and higher wages.
A Bee Only Produces 1/12th of a Teaspoon of Honey in Their Lifetime
Bees are the epitome of being overworked. In a bee's short lifetime, it will produce only around 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey. Scientists say a worker bee's entire lifespan is usually around six weeks, with three working in the hive and three working outside. They spend all their wee hours busy, racing back and forth to get tasks done, a life devoted to the colony and production of honey.
Truly the only insect that produces something humans would want to add to their tea or coffee every morning.
An Octopus Doesn't Really Have 8 Arms or Legs
An octopus is a bottom dweller of the ocean; they swim around and contort their bodies in various ways. Some say they move around using their six legs and two arms or two legs and six arms; none are technically correct. They have eight tentacles or appendages, utterly different from what we consider a limb. If an octopus had a tentacle cut off for some reason, it could even regenerate a new one!
Another weird fact is that octopuses have three hearts that all serve different functions.
Taking Notes in Blue Ink Helps You Remember the Information
Can the color of ink influence you and potentially help or hurt your retention? Well, this is the right tip for you if you're old school and still prefer taking notes with a pen and paper. Several psychological studies have shown that reading and writing text in color dramatically increases your chances of remembering the information. Blue is typically associated with calmness and trust, creating a positive connotation when recalling memories.
Blue ink also promotes creativity and brainstorming, so using it when sketching or writing is an excellent strategic move.
The Modern Speculum Was Initially Used Only on Enslaved Women and Criminals
Most people don't love having to go to the gynecologist; especially when it's that time to get specific check-ups done that involve a speculum. And this fact about the now-common medical instrument won't make it much better. J. Marion Sims, known by some as the "father" of modern gynecology, created the tool; and how he tested it and made the perfect prototype is hard to hear.
Marion worked as a doctor on a southern plantation; that's where he designed and tested - without consent - his tool.