The Secrets Behind These 7 Puzzling Features On Everyday Items

hidden object purposes

When I was doing research for a post about 9 secrets of everyday items, I learned a lot of interesting and practical information, like the proper way to hang your toilet paper roll (over, for hygiene reasons!) and the fact that every Instant Pot has a built-in lid holder. But I also learned a lot of less practical—though just as interesting—information about the features of other items everyday items too!

The surprising purposes behind many of those features were related to the time period in which the items were invented, which the history buff in me found fascinating! In fact, I found these tidbits and factoids to be so interesting that I couldn’t resist the urge to share them with you, so that’s exactly what I’ll be doing in today’s blog post. :-)

These surprising purposes may not change the way you use these common items, but they’ll certainly have you saying, “Wow! Who knew?!” They’ll also provide you with some interesting trivia you can share with your family and friends, so I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! :-)

7 Features Of Everyday Items That Have Surprising Purposes

hidden object purposes

1. Bobbles On Winter Hats

The bobbles on top of knitted winter hats certainly have an aesthetic appeal, but their origin was more about function than fashion. Sailors were the first to add bobbles to the tops of their hats, which offered protective cushioning that prevented them from getting painful knocks on the head during rough weather out at sea!

hidden object purposes

2. Holes In Pen Caps

If you’re an avid chewer of pen caps, then you’re in luck, because pen caps were designed with you in mind! Pen caps almost always have a hole in the top of them, which is actually a safety feature designed to allow air to pass through the cap in the event that it gets swallowed.

Even if the pen cap were to get stuck in your throat, air would still be able pass through the hole and prevent you from suffocating. Unfortunately, people accidentally swallow pen caps more often than you’d think (especially young kids), so keep them away from kids and rethink that chewing habit!

hidden object purposes

3. Margins On Paper

If you’re like me and always assumed that the margins on paper were space for note-taking (or for feedback from a teacher or editor), you were wrong! Margins have existed nearly as long as paper itself, and they were originally intended to preserve the text in the (quite likely) event that rats were to nibble away at the edges of the page.

tips for seniors

4. Buttons On The Left Side Of Women’s Clothing

I’ve always been a lefty myself, but I know that the majority of people are right-handed, so I’ve always wondered why the buttons on women’s clothes are always on the left side. It turns out that the location of the buttons is an old tradition that originated in a time when the presence of buttons at all indicated a certain social and financial status!

If you were a woman who owned clothing with buttons, then you were likely of the same status and class of women who had chambermaids to dress them. Having the buttons on the left side of women’s clothing made that particular task a little easier for them!

hidden object purposes

5. That Tiny Pocket On Jeans

I’ve always been curious about that tiny pocket that accompanies the normal-sized pockets on many pairs of denim jeans. It turns out that bafflingly small pocket is another relic from a bygone era, an era where most folks carried a pocket watch!

But you consider that jeans were invented back in the late 19th century (on May 20th, 1873 to be precise), it makes sense that the design would accommodate an item that everyone carried with them in those days. Maybe it’s time for an updated design that includes a pocket big enough to hold today’s timepiece of choice: the smartphone! ;-)

hidden object purposes

6. Bumps On Computer Keyboards

According to, the average typist using all ten fingers types more than 50 words per minute (WPM), or roughly twice as fast those who “peck” with two fingers and average 27 WPM. But your keyboard includes a handy feature that can help you to be a speedier typist, in the form of the small bumps placed on the F and J keys on your keyboard.

These bumps make it possible to position your right and left hands correctly (with your pointer fingers resting on the F and J keys) without having to look down at the keyboard. It’s a handy feature for everyone, and it’s especially helpful for those who are visually impaired.

hidden object purposes

7. The Hole At The End Of A Measuring Tape

I never knew that the slender hole on the metal edge of a measuring tape is meant to hook onto a nail or screw! This is particularly useful if you’re measuring something large and don’t have anyone to hold the other end of your tape measure.

Just tap a nail into the surface of whatever you’re measuring and hook your tape to it to prevent the end from moving around on you. Easy peasy! :-)

Have you wondered about the origins of mysterious features on other items?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • Just one thing, Jillee – it’s not a chambermaid, it’s a lady’s maid. A chambermaid cleans rooms in hotels, inns, etc. and is a public servant; a lady’s maid was a servant in a domestic establishment and was actually a ‘personal servant’ (as was a valet, her male counterpart), attending wholly or mainly to the lady of the house and doing very little or no general work, depending on the size and status of the house in which she was employed.

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