Amazing Secrets Hidden In Everyday Things - Part 3

There are lots of things you don't know the purpose of that you see every day. Let's find out about amazing secrets hidden in everyday things!


A surprising number of everyday objects have incredibly interesting hidden features and unexpected origins that most of us totally miss. From escalator brushes to barber poles, let’s check out some amazing secrets hidden in everyday things.

Dollar Secrets

Whether it’s pennies or hundred-dollar bills, most people come into contact with money every day. But almost all currencies have their hidden secrets. Take the dollar bill, for example. For starters, the big letter on the front that may have piqued your curiosity on occasion is used to denote which Federal Reserve Bank was responsible for printing that note.


'C' means that it was printed in the Federal Reserve of Philadelphia. ‘L’ corresponds to the Federal Reserve of San Francisco, while H tells you it was printed in St. Louis. Flipping the note over, it’s not surprising the symbol-rich backside of the dollar has a few secrets.

Unsurprisingly, the eye in the triangle isn’t the Illuminati’s calling card. It’s actually a traditional Christian icon representing the all-seeing eye of God, encased in the three sides of the Holy Trinity.


The eagle, meanwhile, can be seen holding 13 arrows and a branch with 13 leaves. These represent the original 13 states of the USA, united under one nation. For an in-depth analysis, check out our article about the secrets hidden in US Dollars.


Book Margins

Today, we assume notebook margins are just useful guides for writing neatly and doodling. But they originally served an even more important function. In medieval times, when rodents were a real issue, the edges of paper and parchment manuscripts were at risk of being nibbled away by rats.


So, a considerable amount of space would be left around the edges so that damage from rats and rot alike would not reach the text in the center. But, like us, our ancestors also used this margin space for the odd doodle, and this usage evolved into the demarcated zone on our modern pages!

Car Key Secrets

For most people, car keys have a very obvious purpose: unlocking cars. But many car brands’ keys have a little-known additional function that you can test for yourself! Simply take your car key fob and hold the unlock button down for around 2 seconds. If your car is compatible, you’ll see your windows magically begin to roll down.

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The specifics vary from car to car, but if your lock mechanism ever malfunctions, this could come in handy, allowing you to access the door handles through the windows. Or, on a hot day, you can let the stuffy air out before you get in. To roll them back up, simply hold the lock button for a few seconds.

Chip At The Bottom Of Coffee Mugs

Have you ever wondered what these strange gaps in the bottom of certain coffee cups are for? They’re not chips from being dropped; the gaps are actually “draining gates”.


A draining gate keeps a cup from slipping around on wet surfaces in the event of a spillage. It also stops water from accumulating in the base during a dishwasher cycle, preventing you from getting an unpleasant splashing while emptying the dishwasher.

Colored Dots On Food Packaging

If you’ve ever noticed these curious, colored dots on the metal lids of dips and similar foodstuffs, their seemingly out-of-place presence may have perplexed you. But those dots aren’t the product of the factory owner’s sharpie-wielding toddler.


Dots like these are picked up by scanners to help manufacturing machines cut and seal the perfect amount of foil for the lid. The closer to the center the dot is, the better the machine has done its job, and the less foil is wasted.

Ticket Pocket

Looking at a dinner jacket like this one, you’d be reasonable to assume this extra pocket is just a pocket. But did you know it actually has a name?


This specific pocket is known as the ‘ticket pocket’ and was originally designed specifically so 19th-century gentlemen could easily access their train tickets on railroad journeys. Before that, it was used so horseback riders could easily access coins to pay toll fees. Now, it’s mostly a fashion choice, but I say we bring the gentlemanly old ways back. Jolly good, old chap!

Bullseye Glass

If you’ve ever spent any time around old buildings, you’ve probably come across unusual circular windows. While they seem purely decorative at first, this wasn’t always the case. Until the mid-1800s, window glass was often made by shaping a bubble of glass on a blowpipe and spinning it into a flat plane.


This process tended to leave a ‘scar’ on the glass, but it was better than no glass at all. Eventually, glass-making evolved, but people developed a taste of this imperfect style of window pane, known as bullseye glass, and it’s stuck around to this day.

What Does M&M Stand For?

Have you ever wondered what the little ‘M’s on M&Ms stand for? The sweet treat owes its name to the initials of the men who initially produced them: Forrest Mars and Bruce Murrie.


Interestingly, Bruce Murrie was the son of the founder of Hershey’s, and M&M's was initially filled with Hershey’s own chocolate. Mars and Murrie didn’t get along, though, and Mars eventually bought Murrie out of his stake in M&Ms. Despite their differences, Mars did Murrie the honor of immortalizing him as an initial on a shelled chocolate treat.

Barber Pole Meaning

It may surprise you to learn that the vibrant, jolly-seeming poles outside barbershops have a very dark past. They emerged in a time before medical doctors when a barber was the place to go for a haircut or tooth extraction, or if you needed a gangrenous limb amputating!


As barbers had the tools, they’d do basically anything for a price, including the procedure of bloodletting; using leeches to drain ‘bad blood’ from your body. And so, the poles were made, with the red to represent bloodletting and the white representing the bandages.

The USA threw in the blue stripe a few centuries later, for a touch of red-white-and-blue patriotism to detract from the grisly backstory of the barber pole.

The Reason Why Hats Have Pom-Poms

Although they seem little more than cute, goofy additions to winter headwear, pom-poms on hats originally had an important function. Pom-pom-laden beanie hats used to be worn by sailors to protect themselves when working below deck, where bumping your head on low ceilings and jutting beams and pipes were common, painful hazards.


The pom-pom worked as an early warning system and a little cushioning for an incoming pipe to the skull, and probably lightened the load of many a seafaring swear jar.

Why Do We Have Cuticles

If you’ve ever looked at your fingers at the height of boredom, you’ll likely have noticed that layer of ultra-thin skin at the base of your fingernails. It may seem insignificant, but that skin layer, known as the cuticle, plays an important role.


By creating a glue-like seal that lets your nails grow out slowly, it prevents any bacteria from entering into the finger through the otherwise-vulnerable gap. This keeps that moon-shaped white patch under your nails, the lunula, safe, which is where the nail grows from. A damaged lunula can permanently deform nail growth, so you can thank your cuticles for the ability to scratch off winning lottery tickets.

Tire Bumps

If you take a close-up look at a car tire, you’ll notice the rubber between each tread has strange little bumps sticking up at intervals. These bumps may look like the product of lazy manufacturing, but they perform an important function.


The bumps mark the minimum legally-safe height for your tire tread. If the tread is higher than the bumps, you’re in the clear. If the tread is worn down to the same level as the bumps, your tires are no longer roadworthy and need to be replaced.

Ultrasonic Sensors

On long car journeys, when you’ve run out of things to look at, your curious eyes may have fallen upon some of these things inside the vehicle.


They’re usually attached to the reading light mount, or occasionally above the doors, and they resemble miniature speakers that refuse to play music. But they’re actually ultrasonic sensors for car alarms and can monitor air pressure changes to tell when someone’s opened a door or window they shouldn’t have, triggering the alarm.

Fast-Food Drink Lids As Coasters

Fast-food drink lids have some deceptively clever design features. Thanks to their unique shape, they actually double up as a coaster. The different lid sizes are conveniently scaled up for the base of the cup to fit snugly into the interior ring of the lid, adding stability and preventing sticky spillages.


Secret Buttons On Fast Food Lids

As a child, these buttons on drink lids probably provided you with easy entertainment, but they actually serve a practical function a surprising number of people miss. Most of the buttons are labeled with symbols denoting whether the drink is hot, cold, decaf, or diet, among other things.


These buttons are there to help rid you of any confusion in figuring out which one is yours; instead, you can simply check the lid. That is, as long as the server remembers to press them correctly.

Why Men's And Women's Shirts Button Up On Different Sides

Have you ever noticed how the buttons on women’s shirts are usually on the left, while men’s are on the right? For right-handed women, who are the vast majority, this makes buttoning up more difficult than necessary, but why? There’s an interesting history to this practice.


In Victorian times, wealthy women would rarely dress themselves, but instead, would usually be dressed by servants. The buttons were placed on the left side of their often-complex outfits to make it easier for their servants to dress them. When facing their mistresses, the servants - who were, statistically, mostly right-handed – could button them up with ease.


Men, meanwhile, had far simpler outfits and usually dressed themselves, so the buttons were placed on the right. Now, women’s left-sided buttons are, largely, just a pointless remnant from the past!

Why Are Disposable Cups Cone-Shaped?

Whether your preference is for a small latte or an XXL jumbo soda, there’s one thing that almost always remains consistent in disposable cups: their shape. But there are some clever strategic reasons behind their shape. Making the top end wider allows the cup to accommodate your nose, making it easier to drink from, while fitting nicely within your fingers.


It’s also this difference in width between the top and bottom that allows the cups to stack! And can you imagine playing beer pong if the top end was narrower than the base? No thanks.

On top of all that, the rolled lip around the open end gives the cup more structural stability, as well as allowing the lid to be tightly secured, preventing leaks. Who’d have thought a simple cup would be filled to the brim with ingenious design?


Bubble Bath Insulation

There are few things as relaxing as a bubble bath. But these wondrous things are, at their heart, secret marvels of design. The bubbles aren’t just for wearing as a beard and hiding your water-shriveled limbs under; they’re actually an insulator! The bubbles trap heat effectively and were initially designed as a way of keeping baths hotter for longer.


Escalator Brushes

You know those little brushes next to your feet on escalators? Well, I don’t know about you, but for years, I was convinced they were a convenient way for commuters to scrub clean their shoes on the way to work. But, sadly, I was wrong. Their real purpose is much more serious.


They’re designed as a way of warning you when you, or any loose garment you might be wearing, get too close to the sides. This is to stop clothing and feet from becoming trapped or shredded in the mechanism. So, it turns out, getting a quick polish from the brushes is the last thing you should be doing.

Airpod Mystery Holes

If you own a pair of AirPods or similar earphones, you’ll likely have noticed they have more holes than just the ones that go in your ear. But, to the dismay of those irritating individuals who play their tunes full blast on public transport, those external holes don’t actually transmit sound. These ones help control the flow of air inside the earphone.


As sounds vibrate the earphones, the holes allow air to escape, lessening the pressure inside. This reduced pressure allows sound to be transmitted more clearly, and with better bass. As for the other little holes, these are for the internal microphones.


So, now you can rest easy knowing that all those holes in your new Airpods aren’t from hungry mice with an appetite for Apples.

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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