5 Product design cases of “Thank you, ancestors” category



It hasn’t always been easy, comfortable and safe. People struggled to have warm houses, stick to the hygiene rules, see one’s reflection, and even sleep. Product design had changed it all. People invented things to make their lives more simple and less challenging.

Case 1. Ancient air conditioner

In the 7th century BC, the Iranians were lucky ducks. They managed to make their apartments warm in winter, and cool in summer. And an air conditioner wasn’t the thing. It was ceramic tile. Iranians were the first to notice its advantages: ceramic tile accumulates heat and gradually gives it away, it doesn’t burn and doesn’t emit toxic substances when heated etc.

And now, in the 21st century, we are to prove that ceramic tile has one more advantage beauty.

Case 2. A pursuit of reflection

The first mirror was a water surface. The second was a polished bronze and steel. A pursuit to see personal reflection was so big, that in 1279, John Pekam covered the glass with a thin layer of lead and got a mirror we have today.

What life would be without mirrors? Would our self-view be different? Believe it or not, mirrors have nothing to do with it.

Case 3. Instead of fingers

For eating, ancient people were content with their fingers, spoons, and knives to spear food on the plate. The matter of the fork was raised in the 11th century in Byzantium (a modern-day Syria and Iran). Constant fights over the acceptance of this flatware kind continued till the 17th century when the arguments like “Why do we need these bladed articles when we have fingers” stopped working. And the forks started.

Case 4. Those who limit art

Egyptians are not about pyramids only. They were the first to use frames for paintings on the pottery or walls to create sections of the scenes. Then Europeans took the initiative, using the frames in the churches. Historically, more attention was paid to making frames fit into an architectural setting rather than the frames being created to “complement the paintings they surrounded.” So they could limit art but continue the architectural line.

Now, they frame your family photo, breaking the borders of your memories.

Case 5. Sleep tight, my love

The first pillows were made from stone, porcelain, bronze or wood. And only rich people could afford them. The Japanese Geisha used hard pillows to ensure that hair remains perfectly coiffed in the morning. The ancients Greeks and Romans haven’t thought much about their hair, they just wanted to sleep in comfort. So they started to stuff their pillows with cotton, reeds or a straw, giving us the chance for a tight sleep. Conclusion comfort always wins.

Don’t be patient to discomfort. Patience has never changed the world.

Author – Alina Kulyk, Daria Sushko
Visuals – Dmitriy Savva

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