Well-known products with entirely different uses today than their original intended use

Yeah, this is a great example. I had heard this story before and since forgotten it, thanks for the link.

Ha, can’t be any worse than the round mouse that came with the original iMac. That thing was a triumph of bad ergonomic design.

The story of John Harvey Kellogg and his brother Keith (the one who invented cornflakes) is a very strange one. The movie ‘The Road to Wellville’ is well worth a watch-- it’s a darkly comedic account of the Battle Creek Sanitarium that J.H. Kellogg ran. Anthony Hopkins does a great job playing him.

Yes, I know it well. “He was handabunging you!”

I use Q-tips (actually generic cotton tipped applicators) and alcohol to clean glass pipes.

I worked with a guy who used them for cleaning his guns, although these were long-handled wooden cotton swabs, not actual Q-tips.

That’s a bad idea - using loose cotton (or paper) to clean a the inside of a gun leaves residue that can jam the weapon and even catch fire. He should use flannel, shoving it into tight areas with a tester screwdriver.

I may be remembering that incorrectly. It was almost thirty years ago.

I once dated a nurse who said they were for catching semen drainage.

I worked for a company that had old obsolete desktop workstations that crashed all the time. Everybody joked that they were only good for doorstops. One day, I really used one for a doorstop, to prop open the door to a vacant office just across the hall from my office. I mentioned this in a company meeting. Everybody came by to take a look, and some people even took pictures of it.

That was the story I heard. Huge oversupply of field dressings after WW1 repurposed and heralding the flapper dress and other less restrictive clothing for women. No idea if it is true though.

I have met a few paramedics who swear that tampons work better than the dressings officially made for the purpose.

I’ve read that the original purpose of paintball guns wasn’t for entertainment, but for forestry work: You could shoot paint pellets to designate a tree for the purpose of cutting it down - without having to walk all the way over to that tree. Saves a lot of energy if one has to mark dozens of trees this way.

Many sources, including the package they come in. Most warnings are ignored, this is probably the best example.


Without Googling, I thought they were for marking cattle.

Heh, that’s what Blu-Kote is for.

I’ve heard that Carter’s Little Liver pills were intended as a general cure-all, but that some people view them more as a cure for constipation. (It contains bisacodyl, a laxative)

Similarly, Alka-Seltzer is supposed to be an antacid and analgesic. (It was apparently once marketed as a cure-all, too) I was surprised to learn that a lot of people see it more as a cure for hangovers.

Hmm – these are more of cases of “these are still marketed for one purpose, but people use them for another.”

“Back” massagers.

I’ve also read of them being used for shoulder pads. Specifically, golfers who sling their golf bags over their shoulder.

Pads I can see, but there a bad choice for some things,

You Lucky Devil!

This is true. I played paintball back in the early 90s, and we had to get supplies from hardware stores, Agway IIRC. After a few years specialized paintball stores had sprung up.

The first guns were like a pistol, and held 10 pellets, powered by a CO2 cartridge like the nitrous cartridges for whipped cream. The fancy guns with hoppers and a big CO2 tank came later.