From popsicles to Post-its, they were unintentional innovations that changed the world! Check out our list of the 10 Best Accidental Inventions!
The Chocolate Chip Cookie: Who knew that one of America ’s favorite sweet treats was invented by accident? While baking dessert for lodgers at the Toll House Inn, Ruth Wakefield decided to experiment and make a chocolate cookie. She put tiny bits of chocolate into her dough, expecting them to melt. While the chips softened, they held their shape. Thus the chocolate chip cookie was formed!
Penicillin: This lifesaving antibiotic was discovered accidentally when Alexander Fleming was experimenting with bacteria and noticed a mold growing on one of the bacteria dishes. He also noticed that this mold had killed the bacteria in the surrounding dishes. This mould was the anti-bacterial Penicillin.
The Ice Cream Cone: It must have been very hot at the 1904 St. Louis Worlds Fair because people were eating so much ice cream that Ernest Hamwi ran out of bowls! In an effort to keep his customers satisfied, he rolled up a waffle to hold the ice cream and the ice cream cone was born!
The Microwave : Engineer Percy Evans was at Raytheon working on a live radar system emitting micro waves. He felt something warm in his pocket and noticed that his chocolate bar was ‘being cooked’ and was melting away. He focused the microwaves into a metal box and the microwave was born.
The Potato Chip: Sometimes a demanding customer can lead to a great discovery! George Crum, who was working as in Saratoga Springs in 1853, grew frustrated one day when a diner complained that his French Fries were too thick and sent them back. In order to infuriate the picky customer, Crum cut the potatoes incredibly thin and browned them to a crisp. Little did Crum know, the chips would be a delicious salty snack that would satisfy Americans for centuries!
Plastic: Leo Baekeland was trying to find a way to reproduce shellac, a waste product from the lac beetle. The shellac would be used to insulate electronic devices. Instead of reproducing the beetle resin, he ended up making a more durable material that he called Bakelite. Bakelite is the basis for plastics used today.
The Popsicle: Frank Epperson, an 11 year old, mixed soda water powder and water (a popular drink at the time) on his back porch one evening. He left the mixture outside overnight, accidentally leaving the stirrer in it. It got very cold that evening, the liquid froze and a sweet, icy treat was created!
The Post-it Note: In the late 1960’s, Spencer Silver of the 3M Corporation was attempting to create a super-sticky glue. Instead, he did the exact opposite; he ended up making a strange low-sticky, adhesive substance. Because this substance did not have a foreseeable future as glue, it was abandoned. Many years later Silver’s colleague, Art Fry, used the substance to attach book mark that continuously fell out of his book. The post-it note was born.
Coca Cola: Coke was originally intended to be the cure-all medicine to ailments such as migraines, morphine addictions, stomach, n aches, nausea and impotence. However, through the years, the usefulness of the carbonated drink as a medicine declined and its popularity grew as a soft drink. The famous soda was here to stay.
The Pacemaker: Wilson Greatbatch was working on designing a circuit that would record heart rhythms. He accidentally picked up the wrong resistor and the circuit pulsed and then stopped. Greatbatch recognized the rhythm and realized that this circuit was just the thing to regulate irregular heart beats. Greatbatch’s pace maker was soon successfully implanted in a patient.