Unusual adventures and hidden discoveries. Explore our 2018 trips now »

Help Us Choose the Most Overlooked Invention

Introducing Mundane Madness, a bracket challenge to anoint the world’s most quietly amazing gadgets, implements, and tools.

Blake Olmstead/Atlas Obscura

Mundane Madness is live! Check out the first round of match-ups.

Some wonders are riotous, introduced with fanfare and endlessly discussed. Others are quietly brilliant, but no less ingenious and impactful.

Take the bread clip. It’s hardly ostentatious—it’s flimsy, disposable, and fills a pretty specific niche. But, as my colleague Eric Grundhauser wrote last spring, it solved a tricky problem in a brilliantly simple way. According to company lore, Floyd Paxton, the founder of Kwik Lok, which manufactures the little plastic tabs, whittled a prototype from a credit card to cinch a bag of partly nibbled airline nuts. More than half a century later, the company has produced billions of them. Momentous utility, little attention.

We want to know about your favorite overlooked inventions. They may be big or small, ubiquitous or esoteric—anything from, say, envelopes to screws. What they should have in common is a clever solution to an everyday problem.

Over the next few weeks we’ll pit these inventions head-to-head in a bracket challenge we’re calling Mundane Madness. We’ll winnow our pool of contenders to a single winner: one mundane invention to rule them all.

Make a nomination by filling out the form below. (And, while you’re at it, tell us why you’re such a fan.) You might see your pick in a future round.

Don’t forget to come back when the matchups begin on Tuesday, March 13.