18 Common Objects That Have Their Own Hidden Histories

Many of us take comfort in all the mundane things we have in our homes. But did you realize that those ordinary objects have an interesting history of how they came into existence?

Oh, yes. So I thought it would be cool to share some fun facts about common household objects most of us have in our homes. Let's call it a quick history lesson.

1. Plates

Unsplash | Brooke Lark

Did you know that way back in the day plates were made out of bread? Both in Europe and the U.K., plates or trenches were cut from large round loaves of whole wheat bread aged for four days. Then, the bread was sliced into two three-inch rounds.

Wow! Mind blown!

2. Barbie

Unsplash | Elena Mishlanova

Here's a fun fact I had no idea about, and it has to do with Barbie. Did you know that the doll has a first name and last name? I had no idea. The inventor's daughter's name was Barbara, so he named the doll Barbara Millicent Roberts.

3. Microwave

Unsplash | Lissete Laverde

Here's another interesting story. Did you know that the microwave was discovered by accident?

In the 1940s, engineer Percy Spencer conducted tests by directing microwaves at foods like popcorn and eggs. Both exploded, but now we know the correct temperature to cook them, ha, ha!

4. The Keyboard Design

Unsplash | Amy Hirschi

Do you ever wonder how the QWERTY keyboard design came about? Apparently, it was to slow down typists who used regular typewriters. Fast typing would cause the typewriters to jam, so the QWERTY design purposely slowed them down.

5. Cotton Candy

Unsplash | Yarden

Speaking of fun, how about a history lesson on cotton candy, huh? Would you believe me if I told you both a candy maker and a dentist invented it? Back then, they called it "fairy floss." It was renamed "cotton candy" in 1920 by another dentist.

6. Rocking Chair

Unsplash | Elena Kloppenburg

The first combination of a chair and the cradle was invented by colonial settlers in North America in the 18th century. It was created with nursing mothers in mind. The design caught on quickly and it soon became a staple of the American home.

7. The Sofa

Unsplash | Nathan Fertig

Our favorite place to chill after a long and hard day was actually invented by Louis XIV. During the civil war, 10-year-old Louis had to flee Paris without his furniture.

Embarrassed by his inability to make his visitors comfortable, he later spent his life making Versailles as cozy as possible.

That makes sense, huh?

8. Tissue Paper

Unsplash | Kelly Sikkema

The modern tissue dates back to the time of WWI. During the war, there was a shortage of cotton, so a thin tissue was used to place inside the gas mask as a filter. And now we use it to blow our noses.

9. Bubble Wrap

Today you can use bubble wrap for so many things, but it was originally used as textured wallpaper. It didn't work out so well. No wonder the creators abandoned that purpose. You can, however, use it as wall insulation, so it wasn't a complete failure.

10. Refrigerator

Unsplash | Sidekix Media

You may not know that Albert Einstein perfected the refrigerator. GE was the first company that started manufacturing them, but the frosty insides were very toxic.

It wasn't until Einstein created a refrigerator design with no moving parts and no seals with the potential to leak that the modern fridge took-off.

11. Pillows

Unsplash | Deconovo

I'm not sure if you're aware, but pillows didn't start out as soft and comfy as they are today. Ancient Egyptians slept on child-sized stools with a curved piece resting upon a pillar, perhaps to protect their elaborate headpieces.

Ouch, that doesn't sound comfortable, right?

12. The Tablecloth

Unsplash | Brooke Lark

Do you have a tablecloth on your dining room table? Apparently, only pheasants eat on a bare table. At least that's what was true back in the day. A table adorned with a pleated white tablecloth was a sign of wealth.

13. Salt

Unsplash | Jason Tuinstra

Today, we use salt mostly in cooking, but a long time ago, it was actually used as a currency. You see, people use salt to preserve food while they travel on a long journey. Even ancient Romans paid their workers with salt, and they used salt to flavor their food.

14. Wearable Glasses

Unsplash | Susan Duran

Leave it to the Italians to invent the first wearable glasses. Before then, people had to lift a heavy glass towards their eyes to see better. Those clever inventors shrank the glass and heavy frames enough that you could finally wear it on the nose.


15. High Heels

I often lament, that high heels must've been designed by men, because of how uncomfortable they are to wear, hee-hee! And what do you know? I was right!

It all started with horseback riding, and the heel kept the stirrups from sliding. Today, of course, women wear high heels for fashion purposes.

16. Chocolate

Unsplash | Charisse Kenion

Who here loves chocolate? Um, do I even have to ask? But did you know that Aztecs first used chocolate or raw cacao as medicine? Later, European doctors prescribed it for everything from fevers to indigestion to melancholy.

I like that kind of medicine!

17. Play-Doh

Your kids' beloved Play-Doh was once used for something far less fun. It was actually sold to lift soot off of wallpaper. At first, it was just plain white, but when it became a toy, it became available in red, blue, and yellow.

18. The Fork

Unsplash | Ric Matkowski

This is a funny one, but the fork was once considered to be an immoral tool of the devil, lol because it looked like a pitchfork.

It wasn't until the renaissance when Italians started eating sugary and syrupy dried fruit that the fork became quite the necessity.


Who else loves discovering fun facts about the objects we use every day, huh? I think this quick history lesson was so fun.

I'd love to find out more interesting information about other objects, so if you know other ones, feel free to share them with all of us.