What Things Are in the Shape of a Cone?

••• sportpoint/iStock/GettyImages

The cone, generally a circular pyramid structure, appears often in everyday life from ice cream cones to witches' hats. A unique three-dimensional figure, its circular cross-section and pointed top serve as ideal characteristics for some buildings and objects.

Traffic Cones

Traffic cones can be found along highways and sidewalks throughout the world. Charles. P. Rudabaker of New York first invented the traffic cone in 1914, and back then they were made of concrete. Traffic cones were eventually transformed into the bright orange cones we see in the early 21st century. The traffic cone's circular base provides stability to keep the cone upright.


Teepees, also called tipis or tepes, were the traditional type of housing used by the native Americans of the Great Plains. They consist of wooden poles placed in a cone shape and tied at the top, then covered with cloth or animal skins so that a hole is left at the top for smoke to escape. Teepees were particularly useful to early native Americans because of their portability. The round base allows a maximum number of people to live inside while the pointed top provides a place for fire smoke to gather and exit the teepee.

Metropolitan Cathedral

The uniquely-shaped Metropolitan Cathedral sits in downtown Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. It was completed in 1976 after 12 years of construction. The enormous cone can hold up to 20,000 people, and it houses many artifacts like murals, paintings and sculptures. The ceiling of the cathedral is a skylight in the shape of a cross.

Castle Turrets

In the olden days, the turret of a castle served as a lookout post for soldiers. Early turrets were shaped like a square. In the 16th century, they began to take on a round shape. A round turret was more ideal since, unlike square turrets, it had no blind spots to leave soldiers vulnerable.

Witch's Hat

The iconic witch's hat can be found in movies, television, and on the heads of trick-or-treaters everywhere at Halloween time. These pointy hats can be found in woodcuts from as early as the 17th century, meaning that the iconic witch's hat has been around for a long time. At one time, pointed hats were popular among fashionable Londoners. The fashion spread through to the countryside and remained there long after it had faded in London. This is perhaps where the iconic witch's hat came from, since women in the rural areas often practiced herbalism and folk rituals.


About the Author

Tiffany Ameh has been writing articles since 2009. She attended California Baptist University in 2004 and is pursuing her Bachelor of Science in holistic nutrition at El Camino College.