Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What's in your pocket?

Do you ever wonder about where everyday objects come from? I was talking about pocket notebooks yesterday, which got me to thinking about all the other things I tend to keep in my pockets - pen, money, pocket knife, phone - all of which have their own story.

Then I got to thinking even more about the pockets themselves. Do you realize that even though a folding pocket knife, like the one I was just using to slice up an apple, has its origin before the age of the Vikings, the pocket itself, at least as we know it today, is younger than the United States?

Back in the day people used to carry everything in bags. Then eventually they started carrying things in bags inside their clothes, with slits in the outer garments for access (putting your coin pouch inside your jacket or trousers made it a lot harder to steal). Eventually, probably around the 1780s, some genius hit on the idea of sewing those little pouches right into the clothes, and the pocket was born.

As natural as it may seem to stand there with your hands in your pockets, just think, for hundreds of thousands of years, humankind had no pockets to put their hands in. It's only in the last couple hundred years we've even had the option.


Tracy said...

MetroCard, NYU student ID, wallet, cell phone. No keys or work ID, no pen, so clearly I'm in no state to leave the apartment...

Matt DeBlass said...

Nope, you may as well just stay home and watch Doctor Who reruns.