Time advances at warp speed and technology has accelerated absolutely everything. I’m convinced that within a few years we’ll all have chips embedded in our hands or heads that replaces any form of ID we need to carry and serves as our debit card for anything requiring payment. We’re already getting closer to driverless cars, but they really need to work out those pesty crash kinks before they’re ready for drive time. It’s gotten me thinking about practical inventions that make life easier. Life wouldn’t be the same without them. Here’s 8 that top my list:
Contact Lenses – “I can see clearly now the rain is gone, I can see all obstacles in my way… “Johnny Cash wasn’t writing and singing about the invention of contact lenses, but I LOVE contacts so much that they make me consider singing. And, believe me, you don’t want that. I can’t sing on pitch, ever, even if I was offered an instant million dollars. I’m that bad. So, instead of sing, I’ll just tell you how thankful I am for the invention of contact lenses.
Chip Clip – I love chip clips. There’s nothing worse than stale chips, cookies or anything else that comes in a bag that doesn’t seal on its own. We’re not much of a chip family, but guacamole isn’t the same without chips. And, I even use a clip for things that go in the freezer, like frozen fruit and fries. These simple little creatures are a must have in any kitchen.
Lighter Wand– Remember when restaurants had a complimentary bowl of matches at the front counter? Thankfully, the societal shift around smoking has led to the disappearance of most of those bowls and the existence of easily attainable matches. But, we still need something to light candles or a campfire. Regular lighters are designed for cigarettes, not candles or campfire. I don’t know when lighter wands came into being, but I’m a huge fan. You never burn a finger or drop a lit match. One click and your flame is glowing.
Toothbrush – It’s hard to imagine life without the toothbrush. Smelly and yucky are words that come to mind. History tells us humans used chew sticks and twigs dating back to 3000 B.C. Fast forward to 1885 and mass production came to the U.S. Fun fact: The average American spends 38 days brushing teeth over his or her lifetime. And, if you have a blue toothbrush, you are not alone. It’s the most popular color!
Hair Bands – I know you can use a lot of different things to put your hair in a ponytail, but rubber bands rip your hair out at the roots, and using string or a shoelace seems so 1800s. Hail to the elastic hair band! One can never have too many!
Post-It Notes – I love me some Post-It Notes. I’m not sure I could function well without them. This accidental invention came about when a 3M scientist was attempting to develop a super-strong adhesive. Instead, he ended up with a “low-tack” reusable, pressure-sensitive adhesive. Five years later, it was a colleague who came up with the idea of using this adhesive to affix bookmarks on his church hymnbook. Today, Post-It owns the market. It’s a rarity to find a work or home office without a supply of Post-It Notes. The iconic yellow color was also a bit of an accident. The lab next door only had scraps of yellow paper, so that’s what they used to create the first Post-It Notes.
Ironing Board – Have you ever tried to iron a piece of clothing on a table or other flat surface like a bed, because you’re stuck someplace with an iron and no ironing board? It’s nearly impossible to successfully end up with anything but still-wrinkled shirt or pants. I remember when I headed off to college I was given a tabletop ironing board. This stubby-legged version was better than a flat surface, but not by much. We have Sarah Boone to thank for today’s modern, folding ironing board. In 1892, she patented a version with a narrow, curved shape to make it easier to iron shirts. If only Sarah Boone had invented a super power of ironing with our eyes.
Toilet Paper – There is no delicate way to chat about toilet paper. We need it and we use it a lot. Frankly, I’m thankful I’m not one of the four billion people in the world who don’t use TP. These days, you can choose your color and cushiness factor. When I was in grade school, its softness was akin to rough paper towels. Even rest stops have upped their TP game. While they may not use Charmin, it’s not like you’re using pages from a Sears catalog. Fun fact: the average person uses 100 rolls of toilet paper a year. And, seven percent of Americans steal rolls of toilet paper in hotels or motels.
Every day new inventions emerge. Who knows what’s next. I’d love to hear what amazing practical inventions make your daily life easier or more convenient in some way. Oh, I just thought of another one – the garage door opener. Can you imagine having to get out of your car and manually pull up the garage door? That sounds so archaic!