Inventions often happen by accident when scientists, or sometimes even regular people, are looking for one thing and end up finding another. Like when Nicholas Cage tried to make a fantasy movie and instead ended up with a hilarious ironic comedy. Here are 15 of those happy accidents.
When Jamie Link’s homework exploded, she thought she would have to blame it on her dog. Fortunately, she instead discovered Smart Dust. These are tiny particles that can be directed as sensors.
The Microwave Oven
Percy Spencer was working on a new kind of radar and a way to legally change his first name to something more manly, when he noticed the chocolate bar in his pocket kept melting. Turns out, he was microwaving himself! Healthy. A machine to make popcorn quickly and everything else too hot to eat was born.
Richard James was working on springs in the Philadelphia shipyard when he accidentally knocked one down the stairs. It was alone or in pairs and made a slinkity sound. Fortunately for James, that sound was much like a cash register. To date, over 300 million Slinkies have been sold and zero have been untangled.
The popsicle was invented in 1905. That was before most people had a freezer or before anyone would do anything for a Klondike bar. Frank Epperson mixed up a soda and left it out on the porch overnight in the cold. The next day, popsicle! Unfortunately, he was only 11 at the time and would have to wait several years before making his millions. It was probably for the best. Just ask Gary Coleman’s ghost.
In 1879, Constanin Fahlberg stumbled onto this sweet concoction while experimenting with new uses for coal tar after not washing his hands got the sweet stuff all over his dinner rolls. Mmm, mmm! Makes that cancer sound so delicious! No wonder lab rats and supermodels can’t stop eating it.
The Ice Cream Cone
Just before Epperson left his popsicle out on the porch, the 1904 World’s Fair vendor was selling so much ice cream, he ran out of plates. Next door, a Persian vendor was selling flat, wafer-like cakes that were not selling like hotcakes at all. The rushed ice cream man start rolling them into cones and selling the ice cream in them. Delicious! Let’s be glad he didn’t go to the vendor selling flank steaks or ice cream cones would cost you over $20 a piece, take 20 minutes to grill and would quickly melt all your ice cream.
Play-Doh was originally developed as a wallpaper cleaner. In 1956, it began to be marketing as a non-toxic modeling clay. That was way better than all the poison modeling clay people had been sculpting with before. This added years to the life spans of small children and would-be Michelangelos.
Long before John Gotti got his nickname, a scientist named Roy Plunkett was working with refrigerants when he and his assistant left something in the fridge overnight. The next day, they had discovered Teflon and were finally able to make omelets without leaving a mess in the pan. After breakfast, they went on to become millionaires.
The Egyptians used to treat wounds by placing moldy bread on them. Unfortunately, they never patented the process and in 1928, Professor Alexander Fleming returned from holiday to discover mold in his Petri dish. Wherever the mold grew, his bacteria would not. Let’s face it, Alexander had way too much free time on his hands. But he did end up curing a lot of diseases, which proves that you can get a lot of work done while on vacation.
Star Trek’s Leonard Nimoy did not discover Vulcanized Rubber, but he, like many of us, probably uses it every day. It was Charles Goodyear (who was probably from this planet) that discovered that by removing sulphur from natural rubber, the results would last year round. This opened the door for tire shops everywhere to overcharge you $10 just to fix a flat.
Leon Gillet invented Stainless Steel in 1904. He didn’t realize its rust-resistant capabilities, or think that it would one day coat time traveling DeLoreans. Nevertheless, some other guy did and made millions. And that is how you live the American dream.
Post It Notes
One guy at 3M invented the adhesive, while another guy invented the function. Now you can blame both those guys for all those passive aggressive notes you get from the wife and your co-workers. Without this amazing invention, the people who made tacks would still be in business.
Don’t let the snooty French tell you differently: Champagne was a complete accident. A French Monk named Dom Perignon experimented with the fermentation process in 1668 and stumbled upon a sparkling wine that costs way too much and is likely to blind someone when you open it. Thanks to him, rappers finally had something to pour all over hot coochie mamas in their videos.
In 1907, Leo Hendrik Baekeland was trying to invent a new kind of electronic insulation. Instead, he stumbled upon something that would eventually revolutionize the world and be used to refer to the faces of the cast on the Jersey Shore.
Mauve was apparently invented by a man. Who knew? However, it was by accident. While trying to invent something important (a treatment for malaria) William Perkin accidentally stumbled upon a color which allowed women to use another word to describe pink.