Our lives have been simplified by things. Every day, we come across so many objects and machines that we become accustomed to. For instance, a car is something most of us use every day. We drive it for so long that we are capable of recollecting every small detail about it. Despite knowing everything about our beloved possessions, there’s still some hidden features that we have no idea about. When designing something, the inventors often leave small details, sometimes right in front of us, that has a specific purpose. We however, consider them to be nothing extraordinary and leave it as is. Here, we have gathered a list of 10 interesting hidden features that can be found in everyday things.
1. Chinese takeout boxes are designed in such a way so that you can actually use them as a plates.
Chinese restaurants have been popular in the United States for decades. The Chinese American Restaurant Association estimates that there are more than 45,000 Chinese restaurants currently in operation across the United States. This number is greater than all the McDonald’s, KFCs, Pizza Huts, Taco Bells and Wendy’s combined. What most people love about the restaurants is their unique food as well as the little boxes they come in. While most of us have been eating the food from within the box, it is actually designed to be converted into a plate.
Chinese take-away containers follow a similar concept; they unfold into a plate. So, now you know! No more getting the sides of your hands greasy or having to add dishes to your already overflowing sink!
2. Gas pumps are equipped with a breakaway device that safely detaches the nozzle from the pump in case someone drives off while pumping gas.
Filling up gas in your car can be a routine job for you, which can sometimes cause you to not give it a second thought. Every day, hundreds of people in the United States drive away with the gas-pump nozzle stuck in the tank. According to figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration ( EIA), 41 million fill-ups take place everyday, nationwide. However, driving off with the nozzle still inside the tank became such a common occurrence that scientists invented the breakaway device. The breakaway device detaches the hose automatically if it is pulled with enough force. This eliminates any damage to the pump, while also reducing the cost to replace the nozzle. (source)
3. Most cars are equipped with an emergency latch to open the trunk from the inside, just in case you lock yourself inside.
Hollywood movies like to make intense scenes, like a person stuck inside a trunk, desperately trying to make an escape. While the scene can be dramatic and keep the expense high, it certainly does not happen as they represent. For instance, most cars come with a release handle that is actually glow-in-the dark. Upon pulling the latch from within, the trunk would pop open. So, next time you find yourself inside the trunk, just look for the latch. The government first considered an escape handle in 1984 but it wasn’t until the summer of 1998 that Congress made a formal request to include the release handles inside the trunks. (source)
4. The loop in the frame of a grocery cart is to hang your bags with light items, like bread and eggs, so they don’t get smashed among your heavier goods.
Whether it be Walmart, Aldi’s or Target, these places all have shopping carts for convenience. Some of us use these carts on a weekly basis and do not require much explanation as to how to use them. While the user only requires the basic idea to push their groceries around while they shop, manufacturers of these seemingly basic carts are more forward-thinking than we’ve given them credit for. The loop on top of the cart might look like part of the design but it is actually placed there to hang your bags with light items. This way, the bags with bread, eggs and other delicate items can hang separately, so they don’t get smashed among the heavier goods. (source)
5. Notebooks have margins on them because in early days, books were often victims of mice and rats who liked to eat away at the paper. So, manufacturers started adding margins to keep valuable information from being eaten away by the rodents.
When looking at a college ruled notebook, one would think that the reason why they have margins is to make the page look more appealing. Some on the other hand think that the space is for teachers to leave ‘outrageous’ notes for the parents. The truth is that, back in the day, rats and mice were a real issue and they liked to gnaw on everything. Books were always nibbled on by the pesky rodents, so people started leaving empty spaces around the edges, where the damage was most likely to occur. Manufacturers saw this and decided to go with the flow by adding margins to notebooks. (source)
6. The tiny holes in airplane windows play a crucial role. They not only prevent the windows from fogging up, but also minimize the pressure on the outermost windowpane by distributing it among the inner layers
90% of travelers prefer to have window seats since it helps them pass time. If you are one of those people, then you might have noticed a tiny hole in the window panel. At first glance, one would think that it could be disastrous to have a hole in an airplane, especially in a pressurized cabin. It however, turns out that the hole is left on purpose. At 30,000 ft., the temperature outside can be freezing, so the cabin maintains the temperature and pressure to keep travelers comfy. This however, could cause fogginess, since the inside and outside temperature is different. So, the hole prevents fogging and also minimizes the pressure on the outermost windowpane by distributing it among the two inner layers. (source)
7. The tiny buttons or rivets in jeans are not just for fashion. They were meant to keep everything together, since the jeans of yesteryears went through extreme stress, as they were mostly worn by miners.
Since the 19th century, Denim jeans have had a big reputation, both as durable and fashionable. Today, billions around the world wear jeans as part of their everyday attire, since they can be used in all kinds of weather. Most jeans also come with the tiny buttons or rivets, that are often considered as part of the design. The truth is that jeans were first invented for miners, who worked under extreme conditions. Since the jeans was subjected to immense pressure in such working conditions, they had to embed rivets at certain points that ensured that the clothing, especially the pockets, stayed in one piece. (source)
8. Those random little holes at the bottom of padlocks are used to inject oil into the lock for lubrication of the mechanism. They also allow water to drain when the lock is used outdoors.
The holes under padlocks are left intentionally so that users can inject oil into the lock for lubrication. The holes are also called drain holes, since they allow dirt and water to seep through when the padlocks are used outdoors. During winter, if moisture stays inside the lock, it could cause it to rust, thus reducing the lifespan. So, manufacturers placed the hole in such a way that it can be used to get rid of the water content.
9. The rubber bumps in the grooves of your tire tread are called wear indicators. When the tread wears down and matches the height of the indicator, it’s time to change your tires.
While most people rely on the old penny trick, tire manufacturers in North America are required to have tread wear indicators molded into their design. The tread wear indicators might look like part of the grooves but if you look carefully, you will see that they are nothing more than little bumps that are lower than the tread themselves. After driving for tens of thousands of miles, your tires would be subjected to wear and tear. When the tread is worn down and matches the height of the indicator, that’s when you know that you need to replace them. (source)
10. Most game cartridges are purposely made to taste bitter so the young ones don’t accidentally ingest them.
In the world where technology is extremely popular, manufacturers have to find ways to ensure the safety of everyone. One such safety feature includes making small items such as cartridges to taste bitter. The bitter taste is achieved with the help of certain chemicals that the cartridges are coated with. Not only does this hidden feature reduce the chance of making a visit to the ER, but it also saves millions of lives everyday. (source)