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Behold, The Aglet: That Thing On The End Of Your Shoelace

In case it pops up on a quiz somewhere.
06/22/2016 01:00pm ET

Plastic, metal, maybe just some Scotch tape that you found in your coworker's desk -- the little tips at the ends of your shoelaces that helps you thread them through the eyelets in your shoe's upper sole? You probably never think about them until they break off and become a huge pain.

Well, those little tips have a name.

They're called aglets, otherwise known as one of the most useful inventions that you've probably never thought about.

The Huffington Post
The red and white aglets on K-Swiss sneakers.

This history of the aglet's evolution is a little knotty -- many sources credit it as being popularized by an English inventor named Harvey Kennedy who is said to have earned $2.5 million off the modern shoelace in the 1790s.

But Ian Fieggan, the self-proclaimed "Professor Shoelace," doubts this is exactly true because, as he rightly points out, we Homo sapiens have used straps to hold stuff onto our feet for centuries.

Regardless, the use of the word aglet can be found through its etymology, which traces back to aguillet, the French word for needle.

Now you know, in case it pops up on a quiz somewhere.