September 28, 2023

History of everyday objectsEvery day, we encounter countless objects that we often take for granted. From something as simple as a paperclip to a toothbrush or a sticky note, these everyday items have fascinating stories, histories, and secrets. In this article, we will explore 10 surprising facts about common objects that will leave you amazed.

  1. Paperclips:
    The humble paperclip, a common sight in offices and homes around the world, has a history that dates back to the 1890s. It was invented by Norwegian Johan Vaaler, who patented the design, but his invention wasn’t an immediate success. The modern bent-wire design that we’re familiar with was actually an improvement made by an American, William Middlebrook, in 1899.
  2. Toothbrushes:
    Did you know that toothbrushes haven’t always been made with nylon bristles? Before the 1930s, toothbrushes commonly used animal hair as bristles, often from boars or horses. It wasn’t until Dupont introduced nylon bristles in 1938 that the toothbrushes we’re familiar with today became widespread.
  3. Sticky Notes:
    One of the most popular office supplies, sticky notes, were not initially intended to be used as reminders or for note-taking. They were a serendipitous invention by Dr. Spencer Silver, a scientist at 3M. In 1968, Silver created a sticky adhesive that had weak bonding properties, but it wasn’t until 1977 that his colleague, Arthur Fry, realized the adhesive’s potential and transformed it into the ubiquitous sticky notes we know today.
  4. Zippers:
    Zippers, a common feature on clothing and bags, have a fascinating history. The first modern zipper was invented by an American engineer, Gideon Sundback, in 1913. It was initially called the “Hookless Fastener” and was used primarily for shoes. The name “zipper” was later coined by the B.F. Goodrich Company used it for their rubber boots with closing mechanisms.
  5. Ballpoint Pens:
    Ballpoint pens revolutionized writing, but they were not an instant success. The first ballpoint pen was patented in 1888 by John Loud, but it was plagued with problems. It wasn’t until the 1940s when Laszlo Biro and his brother George perfected the design using faster-drying ink, making it the reliable writing tool we use today.
  6. Post-it Notes:
    While similar to sticky notes, Post-it Notes are a distinct product with their own unique history. Post-it Notes were developed in the late 1970s by Art Fry at 3M. The idea came to him when he was frustrated with his bookmark that kept falling out of his hymn book. Fry utilized the adhesive developed by Dr. Spencer Silver to create iconic square-shaped notes that maintain their stickiness even after multiple uses.
  7. Safety Pins:
    Safety pins, often found in sewing kits or used for temporary fixes, can trace their origins back to ancient times. However, the clasp-less design of the modern safety pin was patented by an American, Walter Hunt, in 1849. Interestingly, Hunt sold the rights to his invention for a mere $400, missing out on the immense profits that came with its widespread use.
  8. Rubik’s Cube:
    This perplexing puzzle toy was invented by Hungarian architect ErnÅ‘ Rubik in 1974. Originally called the “Magic Cube,” Rubik’s invention gained worldwide popularity in the 1980s. Surprisingly, it took Rubik over a month to solve his own puzzle after he created it.
  9. Staplers:
    Though staplers have become synonymous with office life, the earliest stapling devices were found in ancient Egyptian tombs. However, it wasn’t until the late 19th century when George McGill invented the modern stapler that they became commonly used in offices and homes around the world.
  10. Clothes Hangers:
    The clothes hanger, typically made of wood, plastic, or metal, traces its roots back to the 1860s. A company called Timberlake Wire and Novelty Co. made the first wire hangers in 1903. Interestingly, these early wire hangers were designed to prevent clothes from getting wrinkled and to display garments prominently in stores.

Everyday objects often have surprising histories and stories behind them. From the invention of the paperclip to the evolution of toothbrushes and the accidental creation of sticky notes, there is always more than meets the eye. Exploring these intriguing facts can help us appreciate the ingenuity and creativity that went into the development of these seemingly mundane objects we encounter daily.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *