Do you own a pingômetro? Ever heard about a fruteira? This article will list these and other objects that can, more than likely, only be found in Brazil.
Brazil may be responsible for some inventions that are recognized worldwide, but many objects are usually unknown to foreigners, either due to its originality or, as in most cases, because it is not very useful. When it comes to furniture, the list can be rather amusing.
1. Plastic Washing Machine
Brazilians rarely go to laundromats to wash everyday clothes, so most houses or apartments in Brazil have a washing machine. However, since a part of the population cannot afford expensive home appliances, a plastic washing machine is frequently the solution. Known as tanquinho, this appliance can cost BRL 1,000 less than a regular washing machine, since it is made of plastic, has fewer functions and is also smaller.
2. Handbag Lock on Chairs
This object can be seen easily in chairs in shopping mall food courts or even in some restaurants. It is basically a strap attached to the armrest, which people use to lock their bags or purses, securing them from being opened or taken by strangers.
3. Covers for objects
While in some countries people cover their cars to avoid damage, in Brazil the covers are used mainly for decoration. Brazilian people definitely have a thing for covers, covering any home appliance with them: sofa, water filter, gas canister, and even the tanquinhos. In the 1990’s, computer monitors and keyboards were usually covered as well, but nowadays this has become rarer.
This could not have been invented anywhere else. A pingômetro is basically a long, thin, glass tube that contains pinga — another name for Brazil’s national drink, cachaça. This tube, which is attached to a wall, looks a bit like a thermometer, and has marks that measure how much pinga is left. If you ever go to a cheap Brazilian boteco, you will probably be able to see one.
A fruteira can be two things in Brazil: either a fruit bowl, which is found anywhere in the world; or a piece of kitchen furniture that is used to keep not only fruits, but other vegetables and spices. This type of fruteira could be described as three or four stacked baskets, usually having wheels attached to it. The reason why it is so common is probably because Brazilians normally buy fruits and veggies once per week, in a big amount. So the fruteira is used to store all of those onions, bananas, tomatoes and carrots.
6. Wall Clothes Dryer
The most used furniture to dry clothes in Brazil are clotheslines, since tumble dryers are not very common and are expensive. There is an alternative, though, that is sold in Brazilian stores for those that want to dry clothes faster, but cannot afford a drying machine: the wall clothes dryer. This consists of a big plastic compartment, the interior of which is electrically heated, and where clothes and towels are hanged to dry. Just as seen with the tanquinho, a wall clothes dryer can cost BRL 1,000 less than a machine.
A common scene in Brazilian snack bars or cafeterias is somebody struggling to open a ketchup sachet. Another common scene: a small, plastic device, which only functions to open small sachets. Known as abre-sachê, this was probably invented because sachets in Brazil are poorly designed, and the solution found by many is to open them with the teeth, which is unhygienic. Still, it is impressive how an apparently useless object became a thing in Brazil.