How 10 everyday items were invented


Have you ever wondered where the idea for a rubber glove came from? What about super glue? Or lipstick? From blue jeans to Band-Aids, watch these 10 TED-Ed Animations to find out the history behind some of your favorite everyday items.

1. How the sandwich was invented

Today, it is estimated that 50% of Americans eat at least one sandwich every day. And while it’s all but impossible to imagine a world without them, sandwiches have only been around since 1762. Jessica Oreck shares the sandwich’s seedy origin story.


2. How the bra was invented

Lingerie has existed for hundreds of years, but it wasn’t until the 1920s that a standardized cup sizing system was invented that changed underwear forever. Jessica Oreck traces the ‘uplifting’ origin of the modern brassiere.


3. How blue jeans were invented

Today, 96% of American consumers own at least one pair of jeans. But where did these durable duds come from? And how did they get so popular? Jessica Oreck shares the humble origins of blue jeans.


4. How smudge-proof lipstick was invented

Today, lip cosmetics are a billion dollar industry, with 1 out of every 3 women claiming that they won’t leave home without applying lipstick. But how did it come to be so common? Jessica Oreck shares the wartime origins of long-lasting lipstick.


5. How super glue was invented

Today, super glue is a nearly indispensable household item — but its incredibly sticky nature almost caused it to be abandoned in the development phase… twice. Jessica Oreck shares the wartime origins of this sticky substance.


6. How the Band-Aid was invented

It is estimated that Johnson & Johnson have made an astounding 100 billion Band-Aids since they were invented in 1920. But where did the idea come from? Jessica Oreck shares the series of moments that inspired Earle Dickson to invent these popular household bandages.


7. How the bendy straw was invented

Today, Americans use an estimated 500 million drinking straws every day. But where did the idea for this beloved utensil come from? Jessica Oreck shares the origins of the bendy straw.


8. How the rubber glove was invented

It’s hard to imagine a modern hospital being able to function without rubber gloves — but they weren’t actually invented until 1890. Jessica Oreck shares the surprisingly romantic origin of rubber gloves.


9. How the stethoscope was invented

The stethoscope is the single most widely used medical instrument in the world. But where did the idea come from? Jessica Oreck shares the modest origins of this incredibly useful item.


10. How the popsicle was invented

Each year, approximately 2 billion popsicles are sold worldwide. But where did the idea for this tasty treat come from? Jessica Oreck shares the distracted origins of the popsicle.


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Art Credit: Elise Haadsma