Have you ever wondered why everyday things are colored the way they are? Sure you have! Why isn’t most toilet paper black or blue? Why aren’t traffic lights purple, pink and brown? It seems as though, for the most part, we’ve accepted these things without really knowing the why of it all. But we like to explore the unexpected and we want to know why certain things are certain colors. If you’re curious as well, just keep reading.
1. Why Toilet Paper Is White
We use it every day, some more than others. So why the pristine white appearance? That’s because manufacturers bleach toilet paper, which would otherwise have an unsightly brownish-gray hue. Bleaching toilet paper removes lignin, the substance that gives trees their stiff and rough texture. And no one wants to deal with stiff toilet paper. The final reason is that we subconsciously consider anything white to be clean which is exactly what we want after visiting the bathroom.
2. Why Traffic Lights Are Red, Yellow, And Green
Traffic lights have come a long way since they were first introduced. They were initially created only for trains and came in two colors: red for stop and white for go. The green light came a bit later and it was used to indicate caution. Over time, the white light proved to be troublesome when train drivers started mistaking it for far away lights or stars. So they were replaced with the green light. Then the yellow light was introduced to mean caution because yellow has a shorter wavelength than red but a longer wavelength than green.
3. Why Tires Are Now Black
Did you know that tires used to be white? And it’s not because they were bleached like toilet paper but rather because rubber is naturally white. However, white tires weren’t very durable and wore out quickly. They also reduced handling and cracked when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Luckily, manufacturers found an effective solution for this problem: adding carbon black to the tires. And it worked! Not only did it give it a new color, but the carbon black ensured that tires lasted for tens of thousands of miles while the white ones barely made it to 5,000 miles.
4. Why Most Airplanes Are White
There are several reasons as to why the color white is a favorite among the majority of airlines. The first is that white paint is cheap and manufacturers save money because it requires less maintenance than other colors. The second is that white reflects sunlight off the plane unlike darker colors that would absorb the heat and make flying very uncomfortable. Lastly, a white paint job makes it easier to spot an airplane on the ground or even in the ocean after an air crash.
5. Why Soccer Balls Were Reddish-Brown and Are Now Black and White
Soccer balls didn’t always sport their distinct black and white look. They were originally a reddish-brown color, which was the natural color of leather that manufacturers often left as is. The standard black-and-white soccer ball didn’t come to be until the 1970 World Cup when FIFA had Adidas create it for them so it would be easier for viewers to spot the ball on their black and white televisions. Adidas dubbed the ball the “Telstar,” short for “television star” which many believed to be the name of the satellite which broadcasted the match.
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