Most people think that a high price tag on a product indicates better quality. But that is not all true. There are cheap, mass-produced, well-engineered items, and here are 18 favorites.
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What would we do without zippers? “It is a very cheap mechanism that secures objects in a very neat fashion,” one commentator says. In fact, they are an underrated invention.
“Toilets use nothing more than gravity to flush. They don’t use power at all,” reads a post.
Having a lighter with you means you can ignite fire wherever and whenever. Lighters are cheap, reliable, and durable.
“That one is sophisticated. Well-deserved Nobel Prize in 1956,” says a commentator. Imagine how many industries rely on transistors for operations, including aviation, security systems, and nuclear reactors.
One post reads, “Diodes are one of the greatest inventions in the history of the world.” And there are several LED colors to choose from, such as white, red, green, and blue.
Ball bearings may be cheap, but they do not compromise tolerance. One online user writes, “Even the cheapest ball bearings with the loosest tolerance are still made in the 10-50 micron range of tolerance.”
You might not think much when buying a ballpoint pen because it is cheap. So, next time you scribble something with one, appreciate the marvel of this well-engineered writing tool.
Aluminum Beverage Can
Have you ever thought more about Pepsi, Coca-Cola, or beer cans? You can bet filing them and preserving their taste is genius engineering. One poster says, “It’s a way of using a relatively small amount of cheap metal to withstand the pressure of carbonated beverages with a reliable opening mechanism.”
Plus, a lot goes into work to ensure the aluminum can does not rust.
Batteries are also sophisticated items, whether small or big. “You’d be surprised how much engineering goes into the cathode material alone. You have to synthesize from the nano-structure to micro-structure and then back to the nano process and some more,” explains a user who works in a battery manufacturing firm.
Did you know glass is made from sand? Yes, the sand is heated at high temperatures and then cooled to make glass! Your glass bottles were once sand grains.
“Such a simple piece of plastic but so versatile,” points out a user. Another explains, “Zip ties hold most of the plastic shielding underneath my car together.” Sadly, “after a few years in sunlight, they get brittle and fall apart.”
Metal Pencil Sharpeners
Manual metal pencil sharpeners are amazing at sharpening pencils to near perfection, and they last long.
Lots of things would fall apart if we didn’t have screws. In other words, “We would be screwed,” mentions a commentator.
Countless lives have been saved thanks to road reflectors. One commentator explains their history, “The guy who invented them was nearly in a bad car accident at night, but the reflection on a wild cat’s eyes saved him from driving off the dark road. After seeing how that reflection saved his life, he invented road reflectors.”
It makes sense why people in the UK call road reflectors ‘cat’s eyes.’
Quartz Movement Clocks
Today, most people use smartphones or smartwatches to check the time. Nevertheless, quartz movement clocks are a cheaper, more practical, and classic way to do the same. “A quartz watch is objectively better than a mechanical one. They are more accurate and don’t nearly need as much calibration when they drift,” explains a user.
One commentator summarizes the versatility of tarps, “(You can use them to) make a shelter, make a floor, make a carriage vessel, make a weather-proof housing for firewood or anything outdoors you want to be protected, or use it at a picnic. Because of their threading, they can distribute weight and hold up against snow and rain build-up.”
Additionally, they are easy to put up, take down, clean, store, and transport.
Stainless Steel Cutlery
“How many other things are used daily then machine washed, thrown into a drawer, and regularly survive for more than a century?” asks a commentator. Well, stainless steel cutlery does!
Door Knobs and Locks
Door knobs and locks are the last greatly-engineered items on this list. They help keep unwanted strangers, including bears, out of your home.
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