We don’t give a lot of thought to the things we use every day, but they all have a history. Sewing machines, for example, have a particularly fascinating history. What other everyday items have a hidden life? Let’s take a look.
I put ketchup on an obnoxious number of foods. Its origins seem a bit murky, but it appears to have originated in Vietnam and southeastern China. The British picked it up, but it was very different from today’s ketchup. In fact, ketchup didn’t even include tomatoes until the 1800s. Henry J. Heinz figured out how to produce ketchup that didn’t spoil easily, and today it’s everywhere.
If you have trouble getting ketchup out of the bottle, Heinz suggests tapping the bottle just above the label.
These wardrobe staples originated in Italy, but they really took off when Levi Strauss brought them to the states in 1853. They were originally work pants due to their durability and were worn by cowboys and miners.
You know those weird little pockets within pockets in jeans? Those are a holdover from when they were originally designed – they were the perfect place to stash your pocket watch.
3. Converse Shoes
These are some of my favorite shoes. The Converse company started in 1908 in Massachusetts. Their most iconic shoes, Chuck Taylors, were introduced in 1917. You may have noticed that Converse shoes have two little holes near the sole. These holes are for ventilation, especially good if you tend to go without socks.
4. Juice Boxes
Juice boxes were invented in the 1960s, but they really took off in the 1980s. And you know those little flaps that you can fold up? Those are to make them easier for little hands to hold. As young children are still learning to grip things, juice boxes can be hard to hold without squeezing out all the juice. The flaps make it a bit easier.
5. The Ballpoint Pen
László Bíró was a Jewish-Hungarian journalist who noticed that newspaper ink dried more quickly than ink from the fountain pens he used. He thought using a small metal ball to distribute ink would work better for faster drying, and he was right. Even though these pens were revolutionary, he didn’t see a lot of money from his invention, as he had to sell his shares to support his family.
Another fun fact about pens: you know those little holes in the caps of ballpoint pens? Those are there to make them less of a choking hazard for children. Even if they get swallowed (which they do, a lot), air can still flow to the lungs through that little hole.
Still best to go to a doctor ASAP though.