Listerine began as a treatment for sweaty feet and corns, Coca-Cola was used for morphine addiction—and that’s not all.
In the late 1800s, today’s top-selling brand of mouthwash was used as a surgical antiseptic and a treatment for sweaty feet and corns.
America’s best-selling soft drink was originally an alcoholic beverage infused with coca leaves, a concoction developed by a Confederate veteran of the Civil War to treat his own addiction to morphine. By 1886, Coca-Cola had sobered up and carbonated water was added to the recipe.
Originally marketed to women as “the new secret of keeping pretty skin as used by famous movie stars,” Kleenex tissues started out as a cold cream and makeup remover. Around 1930, however, it became clear they were more useful for blotting runny noses.
Our favorite plaything when we were kids was first developed in the 1930s by soap manufacturer Cleo McVickers as a product for cleaning wallpaper.
Propecia began as a treatment for an enlarged prostate, but its side effect—the promotion of hair growth—was soon embraced by balding men.
Sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, was initially studied as a treatment for hypertension and angina.
7. Bubble Wrap
The transport packing material was invented in the ’50s as a textured wallpaper, but it didn’t take long for that bubble to burst.
Centuries ago, wine merchants would boil off water on large shipments in order to reduce custom taxes, which were based on volume. The byproduct of this practice was an alcoholic beverage with a distinctive and delicious flavor of its own.
Introduced in Germany during a 1889 cholera epidemic, the household disinfectant and cleaning product was later marketed as a way to achieve vaginal cleanliness—as evidenced by this incredibly sexist ad.
10. Nalgene Bottles
The popular water bottles were created in the ’90s for use in laboratories, where there was a call for containers that could withstand high temperatures without shattering like glass.
Before they were reserved for “that time of the month,” the absorbent material in Kotex sanitary napkins was used for surgical dressing during World War I.