A palpable sense of nostalgia is attached to certain everyday items we use. Most don’t realize, however, that many of these are old items still being used, inventions initially conceived by the innovative minds of the US military.
Take, for example, the humble yet miraculous Super Glue. Emerging from the rigors of a global incident, Eastman Kodak initially intended it for plastic rifle sites. As luck would have it, cyanoacrylate was born, the adhesive we now know as Super Glue.
Despite its stickiness thwarting its original use, it found its place in our homes in 1958, sealing broken hearts and ceramics alike. Another product that has undoubtedly transformed our lives is the humble t-shirt. Originating from the Cooper Underwear Company in 1904, it was meant to ease the sartorial lives of bachelors.
Unpopular initially, it gained traction when the Navy incorporated it as a uniform in 1905. It’s remarkable how this simple piece of clothing, designed for efficiency and convenience, has become an essential wardrobe staple worldwide.
The military’s influence doesn’t end at your drawer. Ever wondered about the origin of synthetic rubber? When World War II induced a global rubber shortage, necessity, being the mother of invention, led to the birth of synthetic rubber.
This material now enables our shoes to weather every storm, quite literally. The magic of military inventions further extends to children’s playrooms. The rubber shortage also led to a delightful creation – the Silly Putty. This bouncy, stretchy material, an amalgamation of silicone oil and boric acid, was a product of General Electric’s chemostats in 1943.
It became a hit when it caught Peter Hodgson’s eye at a party. Today, with over 350 million units sold since 1950, Silly Putty continues to captivate imaginations worldwide. Interestingly, astronauts aboard the Apollo 8 mission 1968 also found Silly Putty handy for securing their instruments in zero gravity! It is an invention designed for a fun yet functional space – genuinely astounding, right?
Further underscoring the military’s creative prowess, other inventions include sanitary pads, frozen juice products, aviator sunglasses, and even the iconic Jeep. The everyday items we take for granted often have histories steeped in the necessity, ingenuity, and unfathomable depths of the military’s innovative minds. As you go about embracing these old items still being used, take a moment to appreciate the blend of historical nostalgia and modern utility these US military inventions bring to our lives.