The Bizarre Origins of Popular Objects


We tend to take the objects around us in our day to day lives for granted, but were we to jump in a time machine and present an iPhone to our prehistoric ancestors they would react to it as if it were a magical device. 

And it’s not just obviously impressive creations like smartphones that have a story to tell – from humble materials like bubble-wrap, to classic games, many of the common items of 21st century life has surprising and even bizarre origins. Below we’re going to take a look at some of the very best of these.

Roulette and the Quest for Perpetual Motion

The pursuit for perpetual motion has been one that has occupied our finest minds throughout history. From Archimedes, to Leonardo Da Vinci, luminaries of every age have sought to solve the riddle of how to create infinite energy. 

In the 17th century it was the turn of French inventor, mathematician and theologian Blaise Pascal to try his hand at achieving this holy grail of engineering. Pascal was a prolific inventor, with his most influential creation, Pascal’s calculator, serving as the first true mechanical calculator and the ancestor to all modern computers. 

When this genius of the Age of Reason sought to achieve the goal of perpetual motion he endeavored to do so by creating a wheel that would spin with such low friction that it could overcome the forces of entropy and air resistance to continue revolving indefinitely. Unfortunately, this was not to be as the laws of physics do not look kindly upon this gambit. 

Though his attempt to unlock infinite energy floundered, his spinning wheel soon found a second life as part of an adaptation of the Italian casino game Biribi. This new variant, which used his little wheel (French: roulette), soon became immensely popular. 

Nowadays roulette has spread far beyond its formative confines in Parisian brick-and-mortar venues thanks to the rise of digital variants of its classic format. Now online roulette is enjoyed by gaming aficionados everywhere who are empowered to make the most of toplists of the best providers of this title’s spinning thrills through platforms like VegasSlotsOnline. 

This platform, which is among the leaders in the iGaming recommendations space, furnishes its users with a host of competitive sign-up offers for roulette and other traditional table games, for use in regions around the world from Canada to South Korea. Such evolution ensures that roulette will continue to stay relevant and popular long into the future.


Bubble Wrap and the Zany Interiors of the Swinging 60s

The material we know of as bubble wrap is so commonplace as to be taken wholly for granted in our modern world. In truth, this material is big business – in 2022 the global market for this popping plastic is estimated to be worth $629 million, and this is expected to grow to over $1.1 billion by 2032. Each year 240,000 miles of it is produced, which is enough to wrap the circumference of the Earth ten times over! 

What’s more, this product is so well suited to its job of safely packaging delicate and fragile items that you would never suppose that it was originally intended for anything else, yet this is true – and we don’t mean just for popping with your fingers, as enjoyable as that is. 

Bubble wrap was the invention of engineer Alfred Fielding and Swiss chemist Marc Chavannes who, in the 1960s, sought to develop a hip and avant-garde 3D plastic wallpaper. Fielding and Chavannes originally got the idea for bubble wrap by sticking two shower curtains together with a heat gun, which created randomly assorted bubbles of distinct sizes and shapes. The idea was then developed in the direction of the uniform small bubbles we recognize today. 

While the notion of decorating your house in bubble wrap sounds extremely unusual to modern ears, it’s important to remember how in-vogue futurist designs and experimental materials were in the mid-20th century. 

Yet in spite of the appetite for leftfield interior decor, their innovative wallpaper never took off and it wasn’t long before they repurposed the material as the packaging solution we know, love, and derive endless pleasure from popping today.

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