The older we get, the more we become used to seeing certain items and fixtures everywhere we go. And once something becomes part of our routine, it’s easy to overlook the fine details.
For instance, we use a variety of objects every day, like cell phones or playing cards, that we usually don’t give so much as a second thought to. But did you know that there’s a good chance that they’re engineering marvels?
That’s why it can be pretty mind-blowing when you learn that these ordinary items have specific features that serve an important purpose. Oftentimes, these awesome secrets are hiding in plain sight…
1. The zigzagging lines above public transportation: If you’ve ever looked at the lines hanging over a public transit system, you’ve likely wondered why they are zigzagged in that manner. This is done because each tram has a pantograph (an electric current carrier) on top of its roof.
When the top section of it is worn down over time, the wire of the tram needs to be replaced. In order to allow the pantograph to wear down in an even manner, the above wire is placed in a zigzag pattern.
2. The king’s sword: Have you ever noticed that, in the French deck of cards, the King of Hearts card is the only king who doesn’t wear a mustache? He also appears to be stabbing himself in the head with his sword. Ouch!
Many theories have circulated as to why this is, including that it represents Charles VII, who was rumored to have put a sword through his own head. Another suggests that it represents Ajax the Great, who stabbed himself with his own sword. These theories, however, have yet to be confirmed.
3. Currency in the United Kingdom: Anyone who has taken a gander at the currency used across the pond may have noticed their strange and seemingly incomplete designs. That’s because the one-, two-, five-, ten-, twenty-, and fifty-pence coins used in the United Kingdom all depict small sections of The Royal Coat of Arms that, when put together, create the entire, completed shield.
4. The little open jar icon on cosmetics: If you’ve ever noticed the open jar symbol and corresponding number near the barcode on most beauty products, you’re not the only one. It’s there to let the consumer know how long it’s safe to use the product after they first open it.
The number featured next to the letter “M” indicates the exact number of months. In this case, the product should last for 12 months before it needs to be replaced.
5. The Statue of Liberty’s crown: While most people are familiar with the Statue of Liberty, few know the reason why her crown is comprised of seven spikes. These actually represent the seven continents—and the seven oceans—that make up the world. They point in different directions to signify liberty among all.
6. The blank pages in your favorite book: Anyone who’s ever seen the blank pages at the beginning or end of a novel might ask, “Why would the publisher waste so much paper?” This is done because book pages are not printed individually, but as part of a group called a “quire.” They’re then folded and bound in place.
Each quire typically consists of a set of pages (or “leaves”) in multiples of two, so if there isn’t enough content to fill a full set, the publishers will simply leave the extra pages blank.
7. The colorful stripes in toothpaste: Have you ever found yourself wondering why there are red, white, and blue stripes in your toothpaste? It’s not because toothpaste producers are patriotic! Instead, each color contains its own important ingredient…
The white portion is fluoride, which not only whitens your teeth, but removes plaque, too. The blue stripe typically contains anti-microbial elements and works to freshen breath and kill germs. Lastly, the red portion helps maintain healthy gums. It’s not completely necessary to keep these ingredients separate like that, but it definitely makes brushing your teeth more fun!
It’s so strange to think that these secrets have been hiding in plain sight all along. It makes you wonder what else is out there right under your nose!
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