You don’t usually associate “mass-produced” with excellent quality, but there are exceptions. Surprisingly, plenty of this are cheap, well made, and do a great job! In a recent Reddit post, here are 15 items that are both high quality and effective.
“Can you imagine what would happen if all the screws suddenly disappeared from world? Everything would fall apart.”
“Screw is one of the simplest machines. Wrap an inclined plane segment around a shaft, voilà one screw.”
14. Metal Pencil Sharpeners
“Don’t buy the plastic ones in the school supply section. Go to the art section. Those metal sharpeners are CHOICE.”
“I have a blackwing two-stage sharpener, I could do surgery with a pencil sharpened with it.”
13. Zip Ties
“Such a simple piece of plastic but so versatile. I have one of the old fashioned chain link fences, some of the fasteners on the middle poles broke and in high winds the fence was swaying like crazy. A half dozen zip ties on the three posts and it doesn’t budge and nobody even knows they’re there.”
“My son rebuilt the front of his car with them time and again. He’s a genius with a zip tie. With not hitting the car in front of him, not so much…”
12. Glass Bottles
“Let’s melt this rock into a clear, brittle material and turn it into what? Windows? Decorations? Screens? No, we’re making pressure vessels, baby!”
“I was telling my husband recently that I wish we would go back to glass for soda bottles. They’re fully recyclable, they can be cleaned and reused… sure, they’re heavy, and I guess they’d be more expensive, but so much better for the planet.”
“Batteries are marvels of engineering packed tightly into a miniscule canister, even AA batteries are incredibly sophisticated internally.”
“I saw a video of someone take apart a lithium energizer battery the other day – and it looks like cotton balls and folded foil just all jammed together. Like someone figured out how to harness so much energy into that thing???”
10. Aluminum Drinks Cans
“To expand upon this, Guinness wanted to sell their beer in cans but didn’t want to sacrifice the iconic head on their beer. Their solution was a device called a widget. It’s a small sphere filled with nitrogen with a tiny hole in it. Under pressure the nitrogen stays inside the ball. When the can is opened and the pressure drops the nitrogen escapes, agitates the beer, and creates just the right amount of head.”
“Serious upgrade when they engineered the pop top to remain with the can.”
9. Ballpoints Pens
“Give credit to the inventor, Laszlo Biro. He escaped the Nazis, invented the pen, then got ripped off and never made money.”
“Didn’t it take China years to figure out the technology to replicate it? If that’s not the definition of stupendously engineered I don’t know what is.”
8. Ball Bearings
“Even the cheapest ball bearings with the loosest tolerances are still made in the 10~50 micron range of tolerance. It only gets better from there. (Abec spec anyways).”
“Between keeping an insane tolerance on sphericity given the volume of bearing balls made, and the literal millions of cycles they’re designed to function under load, it’s crazy they cost so little.”
“Cheap diodes. Even colours. Ok, I dislike the blue ones but tint them and you get warm white.”
“Blue LEDs are a Nobel Prize-winning invention for how revolutionary they have been in lighting.”
“I remember how amazed we were in 1985 to see a chip with 68,000 transistors. Now they’re at 68 billion.”
“Yeah I feel like the average person has no idea how different the world would be without transistors.”
“Spontaneously ignite fire basically whenever you want.”
“Specifically, Bic lighters are incredibly reliable. You can find one on the ground that’s been outside for months and they still work. Cheaper disposables break in a million ways and more expensive refillable lighters will leave you disappointed if you store them, but you can always keep a Bic handy and know it’ll work when you need it.”
“They use nothing more than gravity to reliably flush. Doesn’t use power at all.”
“And if you’ve ever used a poorly engineered toilet, you really learn to appreciate the well engineered ones.”
“I’ve been a plumber 20 years and very little has changed, or needed to. Minimal up keep, cheap and easy repair, very long life.”
3. Ceiling Fans
“Not exactly cheap, but I’m impressed that I can have a ceiling fan run on high for 15 years straight and not have it explode on me.”
“I seriously startled myself when I realized the only time my ceiling fan had been off since I moved in was when the power went out.”
“It’s a very cheap mechanism that secures objects in a very neat fashion. No wonder it’s used in most objects that need to be opened and closed such as luggage and jackets.”
“This one is one underrated invention. The original manufacturer YKK keeps such a secret around the process that they even build themselves the production equipment.”
1. Corrugated Cardboard Boxes
“It’s lightweight, strong, splash resistant, somewhat padded, doesn’t break down in heat/cold, scratch resistant, recyclable, biodegradeable and able to be assembled cheaply into any size.
The basic design has existed for over 150 years. The retail shipping industry runs on cardboard boxes.”
“The Corrugated Fiberboard Association of America would like to remind you that it’s the humble Corrugated Fiberboard box you’re referring to; a cardboard box is what your shoes come in.”
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