Amazing Secrets Hidden In Everyday Things - Part 2

Lots of everyday items have amazing hidden uses and secrets you don't know about. Let's find out about amazing secrets hidden in everyday things!


What if I told you that your understanding of the objects you use every day is barely the tip of the iceberg? From the real uses of McFlurry spoons to the hidden functions of your own microwave, let's find out some amazing secrets hidden in everyday things!

20. ZipperFlipper

Ever been stuck with a zipper that won’t stay all the way up? It’s a mild inconvenience that every jeans-wearer has faced, but there’s an easy fix. Most jeans use a similar type of zipper, with a little-known, built-in locking mechanism.

jeans Zipper lock facing downwards

Instead of leaving the zipper handle in an upward position, make sure you flip the handle downwards. This automatically locks the zipper in place, stopping it from slipping down, and making sure you’re never left with your pants down in public.

19. Secret Safety Glass

You may have noticed some unusual glass panels skirting the ceiling around stairwells in certain types of buildings.

Secret fire Safety Glass panels

While, initially, they seem like an aesthetic choice, they actually serve a potentially life-saving purpose! In the event of a fire, the sealed glass panes block smoke from rising to the floors above via the stairs. By trapping it on one level, the people above are less likely to suffocate and can see their way out much easier.

18. Toilet Stall Gaps

For any visitors to the USA, one of the worst things is discovering how large the gaps in toilet stall doors tend to be. And, for any who has wondered why this evil practice exists, the answer is no better.

US Toilet Stall Gaps

The doors are specifically designed to minimise the level of comfort and privacy experienced by the users of the restroom. This is in an attempt to get people to do their business and move on as quickly and cleanly as possible, by making it clear that others can see in. I guess clever design doesn’t have to be pleasant, does it?

17. Stinkpipes

When exploring your local town, you may have stumbled across some unusual poles. They look like old lampposts but with the lamp part missing, which may have left you scratching your head. But they have a purpose, and it’s pretty weird.

Stinkpipes stench pipe sewage outlet

These headless lampposts are actually called ‘stench-poles’ or ‘stink-pipes’, and you’d better be thankful that they’re as tall as they are. They’re designed to release the air from the sewers below. This is to prevent the build-up of dangerous, explosive gasses down below, while also draining out some of the stink.

Luckily, they’re usually taller than lampposts, so the stink dissipates above our heads and noses. But pro tip: don’t climb these; the only prize at the top is that you’ll be smelling for weeks.

16. Pocket Hooks

If you’ve ever put your cold hands inside your jacket pockets on a winter’s day, you may have discovered one of these hooks connected to the jacket with elasticated strings.

Jacket Pocket Hooks

While these hooks probably won’t work as miniature grappling hooks, they do serve a useful function. They’re designed to be attached to your keys, or onto any ID passes you may need handy, to prevent them from falling out if you remove other items from your pockets.

The hooks clip easily on and off of your keyring and prevent you from ever being locked outside in the cold. Unless your roommate changes the locks.

15. Blank Pages

You may have noticed that, while reading a book, there are often blank pages at the end. It seems like an unbelievable waste of paper, but it comes down to the manufacturing process. Books are printed on large sheets that, depending on the size of the sheet, can fit multiple printed pages.

As these sheets mostly house pages in multiples of four, a book with an odd number of pages, or a number of pages that isn’t a multiple of four can result in space being left over. To save time, publishers simply include the blank pages in their assembly process, to the confusion of us readers.

Amazing Secrets Hidden In Everyday Things - Part 2

14. Cork Talk

If you’ve ever bought a wine bottle but had no bottle opener to remove the cork, you’ve probably asked yourself: why aren’t all wine bottles screw-capped?

wine bottle cork

Well, the answer varies depending on who you ask. But the main reason cork is still favored despite the existence of screwcaps is that it allows the wine to breathe. Although it’s water-tight, cork allows a tiny amount of air to pass between the wine and the outside world.

Amazing Secrets Hidden In Everyday Things - Part 2

This is what allows corked wines to age into better flavors; something that’s almost impossible with screw-topped wines. But, as most supermarket wines are best consumed within two or so years of purchase, maybe screwtops really are the way forward for the non-connoisseurs out there.

13. Hidden Locks

If your home is relatively old, you may have noticed some of these circular notches embedded in the doorframes by the handle. It's definitely not a secret code left by previous tenants.

door lock circular notches

These notches are in fact part of an old-fashioned locking mechanism. Pressing one of the buttons will disable the doorknob on one side of the door until a key is used. This came in handy before the simpler button-press lock came along to bless bathrooms everywhere.

12. Golf Ball Brilliance

Ever wondered why golf balls have dimpled surfaces? Well, this wasn’t always the case. Originally, golf balls were designed to be round and smooth. But in the 19th century, golfers started noticing that their overused, chipped, dented golf balls actually flew better than their unblemished ones. So, people began intentionally creating dimpled golf balls.

Golf Ball dimples

But why do dimpled golf balls fly better? Well, when a perfectly round, smooth ball flies through the air, it leaves a wake behind it, which creates drag, slowing the ball down. Adding dimples creates a thin boundary layer of air that clings to the surface, which causes the air to flow further toward the back of the ball.

This reduces the size of the wake and – consequently – reduces the drag. The dimples also optimize the lift force on the ball, giving it more of an upward motion in its flight, letting it travel further for longer!

Amazing Secrets Hidden In Everyday Things - Part 2

11. Wine Wisdom

At some point, you might’ve felt ripped off when you noticed the big dent, seemingly wasting space, in the bottom of your wine bottles. But the unusual feature, known as a punt, serves several important functions.

For starters, it flattens the bottom of the bottle preventing it from toppling easily, while also collecting sediments from the wine, preventing most of them from being poured out.

Amazing Secrets Hidden In Everyday Things - Part 2

But these functions are likely a happy by-product of the wine bottle’s manufacturing history. Wine bottles used to be fashioned by blowing a bubble of glass and spinning it into shape. Doing this often left a mark at the bottom of the bottle.

But by pressing the mark inward, it would be shielded from view while also adding those handy benefits I mentioned, among others.

Amazing Secrets Hidden In Everyday Things - Part 2

10. Windshield Dots

You’ve probably noticed those unusual black dots around the border of car windscreens. But other than looking kinda cool, what do they do? The black dots help to block and disperse the glare of sunlight at the edges of the windscreen, essentially giving your vehicle partial sunglasses.

Windshield Dots frits

The dots also serve as a smooth transition from the solid black line around the windscreen, which serves a bigger purpose. The black border covers up the adhesive that secures the window in place, while also protecting it from the sun’s UV rays. This prevents damage to the adhesive, keeping your windshield firmly in place for longer.

9. Lollipop Lifesaver

I don’t know about you, but as a kid, I was certain the hole at the end of a lollipop stick was there to turn it into a whistle. Unfortunately, the truth isn’t quite so musical. The hole is there so that a little bit of candy can harden inside the hole, securing it in place so it doesn’t slide off the stick when it hardens.


8. Crosswalk Assistance

The eagle-eyed viewers out there may have noticed a well-concealed spinning dial under the buttons at pedestrian crossings. It’s not just a fun thing for bored kids to twist while they wait; it actually acts as an indication of when it’s safe to cross, for people who are both deaf and blind.

When it spins, it means the little green man is showing, and it’s safe to cross.

67872106 xpdc 2603

7. Highway Hints

It may surprise you to learn that there’s some clever logic behind American road numbers. For example, even-numbered roads tend to run east and west. Odd-numbered roads tend to run north and south. Highways with 3 numbers tend to be roads that circumnavigate cities instead of going right through them.

US Highway numbering system secrets

For example, I-294 goes around Chicago, skirting right around the edges of the city. This all comes in super handy if you need to skip those busy city roads on your next cross-country trip.

6. Pen Cap Precautions

Did you know, the hole in pen caps is legally required to be there to save lives? In the event that a child, or a dumb adult, swallows the cap, the hole allows some air to pass through, reducing the severity of the blockage during removal.

Amazing Secrets Hidden In Everyday Things - Part 2

This isn't the only useful hole on a pen though, as the hole in the side or end of a ballpoint is designed to prevent a build-up in air pressure. This 'vent hole' prevents a vacuum from forming, which would stop the ink from flowing into the nib.

pen vent hole

It also prevents the pen from exploding during a change of pressure, like on airplanes. Many an air traveler’s pocket was soaked with ink on the path to this invention, so pour one out for the inky heroes of the past.

5. McFlurry Spoons

Admit it, at least once, you’ve tried to use a McFlurry spoon as a straw. But despite their straw-like appearance, they have a totally different function. They’re actually just elaborate stirrers!

McFlurry ice cream Spoon secret

When your McFlurry is being made, all the ice cream and additional components, like chocolate sprinkles and syrups, are poured in one after the other.

To make sure the ingredients are distributed throughout the whole McFlurry, the server will shove your spoon into the middle, and hook the spoon up to a specialized machine. Once clipped in place with that hook at the top of the spoon, the machine stirs the McFlurry, and it’s soon ready to go.

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4. Chip Bag Circles

While enjoying some chips, you’ve probably noticed these mysterious colored dots along the back of the bag.

food packaging Chip Bag colored Circles

They’re actually there to add a dash of color to the bag, but not for your entertainment. The dots serve as a quick way for manufacturers to check the quality of the colors their printers are producing. If the color dots aren’t right, it’s back to the assembly line for a new ink job.

3. Microwave Silent Mode

Desperate to enjoy a late-night snack without waking the whole neighborhood with your microwave’s incessant beeping? Say no more. You may not realize, but most microwaves with digital displays have silent modes, typically activated by a single button.

On many machines, all you need to do is hold down the number ‘1’ button for a couple of seconds. Once you’ve held down your machine’s specific button for long enough, all those loud, annoying beeps should be deactivated. Enjoy your late-night burritos!

secret Microwave Silent Mode

2. Elevator Door Holes

Though it looks like a peephole, the hole in an elevator door isn’t there to spy on whoever’s in the elevator.

Elevator Door secret Holes key hole

These tiny holes you may have spotted on your travels are, in fact, keyholes. They’re built into elevator doors so they can be opened whether the elevator is on that floor or not. This allows quick access to the elevator shaft during emergencies. So, in this case, what looks like a bullet hole is actually there to save lives!

1. Pen Fins

If you’ve ever bought a pen slightly above the quality of a standard ballpoint, it may have featured these strange fins inside.

Pen Fins secret purpose

Far from simply a visual choice, these fins serve an important purpose. As ink travels toward the head of the pen, it pools in each of the fins. This means that more ink is always available instantly for the user.

Plus, in the instance the warmth of your hand causes the air in a pen to expand, the ink is sent into the fins instead of being forced out all over your page or hands. Fountain pens usually feature a similar mechanism too.

fountain Pen fins

It’s a surprisingly sophisticated design that may have saved you from many an ink-ruined page, and you probably never even realized!

I bet you didn't know these amazing secrets hidden in everyday things. I hope you find these hidden purposes useful. You might also want to read our entire secrets hidden in everyday things series. Thanks for reading!

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