10 things you use everyday with ’hidden’ features you probably didn’t know about

By Yasmine Jacobs Time of article published Oct 16, 2021

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Have you ever looked at something and thought “What is the point of this?”. Did you know why margins were invented or why doors are made of brass? Do you know what the story is behind those bristles on the escalators (hint: they are not for your shoes.)

We have compiled a list hidden features of everyday things that you probably did not know about.

Why do notebooks have margins?

Believe it or not, margins weren’t invented as a guide for writing and note-taking. Margins were invented to protect your work - from rats. Yes, rats. Rats were a common resident (and pest) in many people’s homes and loved to eat paper and anything else they can get their tiny mouths on. So applying wide margins to paper ensure that the rats chew through the margins first thus protecting the writing.

Why are doorknobs made of brass?

Have you ever wondered why a lot of doorknobs are made out of brass? Brass destroys bacteria and is highly resistant to corrosion and rust. Brass doorknobs are basically germ-proof - making the material perfect for a pandemic era. Studies show that surfaces made of copper kill bacteria and viruses almost immediately on contact.

What is up with the ridges on edges of coins?

Ridge patterns on coins are a relic of the past but are still used today. It goes back to when people would shave off the edges of coins and use that metal to mint new coins. The ridges were later added so it would be obvious when somebody had tried to shave off parts of a coin.

Why do we have extra eyelets on shoes?

Here is a useful tip: if you loop your laces through the extra eyelets on shoes, you can tighten the shoe around your ankle and prevent the shoe from moving around.

This can increase the stability of the shoe, decrease impact loading rates, and prevent your foot from moving about if you are climbing or going down a tricky trail during a hike.

What’s up with the brushes on the sides of escalators?

The brushes on the sides of escalators are not for polishing your shoes. I repeat, they are not for feet. The bristles on the side is a safety feature and is designed to keep you away from standing too close to the sides and the escalator’s skirt panels.

Why do pens caps have holes?

Some of us have a nasty habit to chew the caps of pens. This is a potential health hazard because you might swallow it and choke, so it’s highly advisable to stop and find something else to chew - we recommend bubblegum.

The holes in the pen caps allow people to breathe in case you accidentally swallow and choke on the cap.

What is the purpose of the drawer under the oven?

That drawer under your oven is not for your pots, pans and other kitchen utensils. I know that is hard to believe but it wasn’t designed for that. Manufacturers originally made that drawer for keeping food warm until you were ready to serve it. But we have microwaves now so I guess there is no harm in leaving the pots and pans there.

’I have an eraser that rubs out pen!’

Back in school, you were one of the cool kids if you had an eraser that had different-coloured sides. Contrary to popular belief, they were not designed to erase pen marks but were made to erase different pencils on different types of paper.

The “erasing pen” thing came later when it was promoted as such because many didn't understand what it was meant for.

What is the slot at the end of the measuring tape for?

Most measuring tapes have a metal stub with a small slot on the end. This is useful for a number of reasons. You can hang the slot on a nail for measurement, if your hands are full and you can also try using the stub to mark the points without a pencil.

Why is there a tiny hole in your airplane window?

If you have travelled by plane and you opted for a window seat, you might have noticed the tiny hole in your airplane window. This hole allows airflow through to keep from too much pressure building in the plane and busting the window as it rises in altitude. It also keeps the windows from fogging up with all the warm breath of the passengers.

IOL

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