11/12/2011 10:30 am ET | Updated Jan 11, 2012

Genius Of Everyday Things: 8 Ordinary Items That Deserve A Second Look (PHOTOS)

A lot has been made recently of the "genius" of Apple's designs. To be sure, Apple products have a beautiful aesthetic, but you don't need to shell out $500 or even $5 to hold a great piece of design in your hand.

This is the idea behind the Science Museum of London's "Hidden Heroes: The Genius Of Everyday Things" exhibit, which is open through June 5, 2012. The show features 36 ordinary objects "whose design and purpose," according to a museum press release, "are so well matched that they remain uncelebrated, but heavily used, in the fabric of our lives."

The display has included everyday items like lightbulbs, umbrellas, clothespins, and yes, even condoms. These are products that are so perfectly designed that we don't even notice that we use them all the time. Many of these objects have remained relatively unchanged since their inception, which for some items, like the snap fastener, was over 100 years ago.

The exhibit was originally curated by Jochen Eisenbrand at Germany's Vitra Design Museum. "There's a new fashion trend called out every year, sometimes every season," Eisenbrand told Co. Design. "If you were to follow that, you'd get a bit tired. You rarely see something invented today that remains constant over time."

The exhibit also examines the inspirations for these products and the situations under which they were made. The egg carton, for one, was invented when a hotel owner got mad that his eggs were always arriving broken. Joseph Coyle, a British Columbia newspaperman, dreamed up the now ubiquitous egg protector in 1911 to keep the peace between the hotel owner and his egg suppliers, according to British Columbia's Hiway 16 Magazine.

Check out our slideshow (below) of eight easily overlooked design gems featured by the Science Museum of London. In the comments, let us know which of these items you think you could never live without.