These Iconic Everyday Objects Were Actually Invented By Someone!

By lheidi - March 27, 2019

It’s easy to take everyday objects for granted. You’ve grown so used to them, you think that they’ve always been there since as long as the earth has existed. They’re as old and natural as, say, something basic like fire. But even inventions we’re accustomed to, like the wheel, were created by someone. His name is probably Ugh, and he’s honored in a cave painting somewhere, but he existed at one point in history.

It’s time to take a look at the normal objects you use every single damn day of your life, and find out how they were invented. You might be surprised to learn that Romy and Michelle did, in fact, not create Post-It notes, as they so claimed. So click through the gallery. The next time you reach for a tea kettle, you’ll think about the man who made it, instead of assuming tea kettles have been here since the beginning of time.



Imma let you finish, but the T-shirt is the greatest type of shirt of all time.

The jury is still out on how exactly the t-shirt was created. Some people think the U.S. Navy made the t-shirt part of their uniforms in 1913.

Other people think the British army incorporated the t-shirt in their uniforms in WWI. But we do know the t-shirt was popular in the military during WWII, and after that? It became popular with civilians as well.

Band Aid


If it weren’t for Earle Dickson’s clumsy wife, we might never have ended up with the Band-Aid.

The Jonson & Johnson employee developed the adhesive bandage in 1917. So anyone who cut themselves before then pretty much had to bleed out.

The Band-Aid didn’t sell well until Johnson & Johnson gave a bunch of Band-Aids to the Boy Scouts for free. Because who needs Band-Aids more than children who are forced to survive in the wilderness?

Swiss Army Knife


The Swiss army knife is a knife that can do anything. It’s like the Swiss army knife of knives.

The knife was designed for, you guessed it, the Swiss army way back in 1890.

The first Swiss army knife only had a blade, a can opener, a reamer, and a screwdriver. Now, it can pretty much do anything, short of transporting you to a different time period. And also the scissors are kind of not great, too.

Bic Ballpoint Pen


Over the years, there have been many ballpoint pens, but there has only been one Bic.

The pen was invented by Hungarian brothers Lazlo and Gyorgy Biro, who unveiled their design at the Budapest International Fair in 1931.

In 1945, Marcel Bich bought the patent for the pen, and began selling them through his company, Bic. And now, these pens are pretty much everywhere, except we somehow can never seem to find one when we need one.

Safety Pin


Safety pins have been around so long, that we kind of feel like metal just naturally shapes itself this way.

But they were invented in 1849 by Walter Hunt. Hunter designed the safety pin, then sold the patent for $400 so he could pay off a $15 bet.

It seems as if Mr. Hunt got a really bad deal on the safety pin, because they’re literally everywhere. Let that be a cautionary tale against betting!

Weber Barbecue Grill


Weber barbecue grills and dads go together like barbecue sauce and meat cooked on a Weber grill by a dad.

The grill was created by George Stephen, a Weber Brothers Metal Works employee who felt frustrated by his open-brick grill.

He felt that his grill created too much smoke, and the open top enabled wind to blow ashes into his food. He was also concerned that the heat was uneven. Dad problems, are we right?

Converse Sneakers


No, Chuck Taylors weren’t invented so the Ramones could have some fashionable footwear. Although, that origin story would make sense.

The sneakers were created in 1917, and were meant to be basketballs shoes. Although, you don’t see them at games anymore.

Basketball player Chuck Taylor endorsed the sneakers in 1923, which is why we now lovingly refer to them as “Chucks.” Or, if we want to be more formal, we’ll call them our “Charles” shoes.



The Q-tip has become so iconic, that we pretty much call all cotton swabs “Q-tips,” even if they’re from a different brand.

The invention of the Q-tip was simple. Leo Gerstenzan just stuck two cotton balls on either end of a toothpick. We kind of thought that would have been more complicated?

The were originally known as “baby gays,” but the name was changed to Q-tip. What does the Q stand for? It stands for quality, my good sir!

Polaroid Camera

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Now, we can take and see photos instantly on our phones. But back in the day, the Polaroid was the go to for immediate photos.

Instant film was invented in 1947 by Edwin Land, the founder of the Polaroid company.

The first instant camera was call the Land Camera, which isn’t as catchy as Polaroid, but hey, we’re not going to take away points for wanting to name your new invention after yourself! Go for it, Land!

Hunter Rainboots


Are there even any other rain boots that aren’t Wellingtons? That’s “Wellies” if you’re nasty.

Way back in the 18th century, the Duke of Wellington asked his shoemaker for some footwear inspired by the Hessian boot.

In 1852, Hiram Hutchinson decided to make a rubber boot after meeting with Charles Goodyear (of rubber tire fame). His go-to design? The Wellington, of course! They ended up being part of the uniform for British soldiers in WWI and WWII.

Jansport Backpack


If it’s not a Jansport backpack, do you even want to wear it to school? No!

This backpack was created as the result of a competition to design a new backpack sponsored by an aluminum company.

Winner Murray Pletz started a backpack company with his cousin Skip Yowell and his girlfriend Jan Lewis. You can probably guess where the name comes from. It’s named after Jan. We hope they didn’t break up, because that would be awkward.

Swingline Stapler


You probably never thought about the design of your stapler before, but trust us, somebody did.

The Swingline company created this iconic stapler in 1939, and now we can’t imagine staplers looking any other way than like this.

Why was it so revolutionary? It had a lid that you could easily open to drop in more staples. We don’t like to toss around the word “game changer,” but this stapler was a total game changer.


Burberry Trench Coat


There’s nothing that says, “Hey, I’m a super fashionable person!” like a Burberry trench coat.

But the coat was first developed for soldiers during WWI to wear as an alternative to their heavy outer coats. They probably had fashion as the last thing on their mind.

The coat was part of the official uniform for officers. Nobody else was allowed to wear this chic coat. Things have changed, so if you see someone wearing one, don’t assume they’re in the military!

Kitchen Aid Mixer


A Kitchen Aid mixer is a standard for any cook who’s serious about her baking.

But their first appearance wasn’t in a kitchen. It was in a battleship. Because we all know how much sailors like to bake.

The mixers were made by Herbert Johnson, who worked at the Herbart Corporation. These babies didn’t make their way on to land until 1918, where they have been a staple in the kitchen ever since. Looks like they got their sea legs!

Red Telephone Box


Nothing is more English than the red telephone box, except for maybe the Queen. We’d say they’re probably tied for first place.

The familiar red booth first appeared in the 1920s, way before anyone had cell phones, or mobiles as they’re called in England.

When telephone booths were first introduced, the public hated them, so they held a competition to see who could design the best booth. Sir Giles Gilbert Scott won with his now classic design.

Chinese Food Container


Without the Chinese food container, we’d never have an easy way to reheat our leftovers in the same box they came from.

The Chinese food container mimics the shape of an oyster pail. Oysters used to be cheap and common, and were carried back from the store in a Chinese food container-esque pail.

Now, oysters are harder to come by, but our demand for takeout food (and a cute little pail to hold our food) is very common.

Pyrex Measuring Cup


Nearly every kitchen has a pyrex measuring cup somewhere in it. Even if it’s waaaay in the back of a cabinet.

That’s because pyrex has been around for a long time. Longer than most kitchens, even.

The update New York glass company, Corning Class Works, have been putting out pyrex measuring cups since 1915. That means a lot of measuring has been done in the past 104 years! And a lot of cookies have been baked, too!

Post-It Notes


We all know that Romy and Michelle claimed to have invented Post-its in Rome and Michelle’s High School Reunion. 

But not many people know who actually intended the familiar yellow stickies.

Dr. Spenser Silver accidentally invented Post-its when he was working on a super strong adhesive. He ended up making an adhesive that could be safely put on multiple objects, pretty much the opposite of what he was going for. Talk about having a happy accident!

Little Trees Air Fresheners


We’ve all seen the iconic tree air freshener hanging in a taxi cab. And we’ve all wondered, “Who are they fooling? These things don’t smell like trees.”

The air fresheners have been around for a long time. They were invented in 1952 by Julius Samann.

And honestly, the first air freshener invented in 1952 probably still smells just as strongly as it did the day it was created. These things feel like they last forever, don’t they?

Greek Diner Coffee Cup


What’s more New York than getting a cup of coffee from a deli in one of these paper cups?

The cup was designed by Leslie Buck of the Sherri Cup Co. It’s official name is the Anthora coffee cup, not the Greek diner coffee cup like we thought.

Although, the cup has become synonymous with Greek diners since it’s creation in 1963, and the New York Times called it, “the most successful cup in history.” Big legacy!