It’s easy to take certain everyday objects for granted. Our lives are filled with all sorts of gadgets and gizmos that play small but important roles in our daily routines, and we often use them without giving them a second thought.
However, many of these objects were actually designed much more cleverly than we think. From the holes in pen caps to the buttons on your jean pockets, almost everything was made with a specific use in mind.
Here are some everyday items that have surprisingly handy purposes that you’ve probably never considered!
1. The hole in a pen cap: Many people think the hole in a pen cap has something to do with keeping the pen from drying out, but that’s not quite right. It’s actually there so that if a child were to choke on the pen cap, their airway wouldn’t be fully blocked.
Youtube / JERYKO
2. The hole in an airplane window: These little holes are there for two reasons. The first is that the pressure difference between the outside and inside of the cabin is significant, and the hole takes some of the pressure off the outside window. The other reason is that it keeps the windows from fogging up!
Reddit / FlamingSnipers
3. The extra piece of fabric with new clothes: Most people assume that these extra swaths of fabric are there to use as a patch, but they’re actually for testing how the fabric will react to different detergents and stain removers!
Youtube / JERYKO
4. The tiny jeans pocket: This tiny little pocket actually dates back to the earliest denim pants designs, and its purpose shows its age: it’s there to hold a pocket watch! So should pocket watches suddenly come back into style some day, you’ll know exactly where to put them.
Flickr / Ladislav Benes
5. The studs on jeans: The studs on jeans go back to the time when they were the work pants of choice for many laborers. Levi Strauss put the studs there to reinforce the pants’ seams in areas that experienced a lot of stress and wear.
Flickr / Amy Denim
6. The holes in Converse sneakers: The holes in the sides of Chuck Taylor All-Stars serve one obvious purpose—ventilation—and one not-so-obvious one. When the sneakers were used as basketball shoes, laces could be threaded through the side holes for a more snug fit.
Instagram / dancinintheclouds
7. The hole on the end of a tape measure: This little hole is actually there so you can secure the end of the tape measure to a nail or screw and measure without the tape slipping. Everyone knows how annoying this can be, especially when you’re on a ladder.
Youtube / seejanedrill
8. The end of a tape measure’s serrated edge: Similarly, it might appear as if it has no actual purpose, but it turns out the ridged edge is there so you can make a measurement mark, even while both your hands are busy using the tape measure!
Youtube / seejanedrill
9. The hole on a pot handle: The most obvious reason for the hole at the end of a pot handle is to hang the pot, but it has another use, too. The next time you need a place to put the spoon you’re cooking with, you’ve got a handy spot!
10. The hole in the pasta spoon: The hole is obviously there to strain the pasta and let the water flow out, but on most models of pasta spoons, the hole is about the right size to measure out one serving of spaghetti! Say goodbye to making too much pasta.
11. The arrow on a gasoline gauge: This little arrow is secretly very useful, especially if you’re driving an unfamiliar car. It indicates the side of the vehicle on which the gas cap is located!
Instagram / jassy_in_pictures
12. The zigzag on the side of your bobby pins: While most people have long believed the flat part of these pins should rest against their heads, it’s actually the other way around. The grooved edge of a bobby pin is actually the bottom part, because it helps to better hold hair in place if it faces toward the scalp.
Flickr / hey_paul
13. The hole in the bottom of a padlock: This little hole serves a couple of purposes. The first is as a drain, so if you use your padlock outside, water doesn’t get trapped inside and damage the lock by freezing or rusting the parts. The second is as an opening to oil the lock to keep the inner mechanisms working smoothly.
Youtube / JERYKO
14. The thick part of power cables: These little cylinders contain chunks of magnetized iron oxide. They’re there to prevent electromagnetic interference, which you might recognize whenever your cell phone rings too close to speaker and causes it to make weird static noise.
Wikimedia Commons / Xell
15. Utility knife blades: You might notice that the blade of your utility knife is scored. This is so you can break off the dull part of the blade and have a nice new sharp one in its place. Simply snap off the back piece of the knife and you’ll find that it matches to the blade perfectly and can be used to snap off the old part.
16. The spikes on tube and bottle caps: It turns out that this little spike exists so you can unscrew the cap on a new bottle, flip it, and punch through the foil cover on the bottle’s opening! Opening these objects just got a whole lot easier.
Instagram / mymumwasahippie
17. The bumps on the “F” and “J” keys: The little grooves on the “F” and “J” keys are to mark the home keys where your index fingers should rest in proper typing position. This helps you keep track of where your fingers are without looking at the keyboard!
Flickr / kewl
18. The hole in rulers: This one’s obvious, so try not to overthink it. What do we do with many tools in our workshops when we’re finished using them? Put them away, of course! So it makes sense the hole is there to hang up the ruler!
Flickr / puamelia
19. The wings on an Apple power cable: The wings are actually there to wrap the cable around neatly and avoid tangles when transporting it. Now you won’t have to worry about tangling all the wires sitting in your backpack.
Twitter / @DLFSME_DSBOJE
20. The dot beside an iPhone camera lens: The little dot is actually a microphone for when you use the back camera. Now you’ll understand exactly how your phone manages to pick up all of the sound when you’re recording.
Ebay / t-driver2015
21. The oblong indentation on a Tic-Tac cap: The indentation on the lid of a package of Tic-Tacs is there to serve as a perfect single Tic-Tac dispenser. So next time one of your friends asks if they can have one, get ready to serve them the correct way!
Twitter / @oxruon
22. The disc on a plastic bottle cap: If you ever pry out one of these plastic pieces, you’ll notice that the lid still closes just fine… or it appears to, anyway. The plastic discs are there to hold in carbonation, and if you remove one, it may seem like your bottle is closed tightly, but you’ll find that the soda quickly goes flat.
23. The blue side of an eraser: Some products claim that the blue side erases ink. That’s true for the most part, though it only does this on very thick, durable paper. The blue eraser is actually tougher than the pink side and will tear most normal paper.
Etsy / StupidQuall
24. The indentation on the bottom of wine bottles: The common explanation is that this indentation helps a waiter get a better grasp on the bottle while pouring. In reality, it’s actually to help regulate the pressure experienced by the bottle during the corking process.
Instagram / weingutfaubel
Wow! These are all super common items, but who ever really stopped and considered what their purpose was? You really learn something new everyday!
Share these little-known facts with your friends below!