Scientists are always inventing or discovering something or other but often, they hit upon something new purely by accident. Yes! Inventions can be accidental too, and although many great inventions have been of great significance to us, they also tell us that accidents are important in science! So from the invention of stainless steel to ice cream cones, we’ll tell you the story behind their chance creation:
In 1905, soda pop was introduced and the drink was the most popular in the market. An 11-year old boy named Frank Epperson decided to make some soda pop himself and save himself money. So he made a combination of powder and water and was close to preparing the beverage, but left it out on the porch all night. The temperature dropped severely over the night and the next morning Frank found his mixture frozen with the stirring stick still in it...and popsicles were born!
2. Potato Chips
In 1853 New York, a chef named George Crum invented potato chips, not because he wanted to get famous- but to teach his annoying customer a lesson! A particularly fussy customer kept sending George’s French fried potatoes back to the kitchen because they were soggy. To get back at his customer, George sliced the potatoes extra thin, fried them to a crisp and drowned them in salt. What happened next, to his surprise, was that the complaining customer actually liked it and potato chips were introduced to this world!
3. Ice Cream Cones
Before ice cream cones were invented, ice cream was served on dishes. It was in the St Louis World’s Fair in the year 1904 that we got waffle cones. There was an ice cream stall at the fair and it was doing so well that they were quickly running out of plates. The next stall was of Persian waffles and it was hardly selling anything! The two stall owners had the idea of plopping the ice cream on top of the rolled waffles, and thus the ice cream cone was born.
In the early 20th century, a chemist named Roy Plunkett was working for DuPont and accidentally came across the non-reactive, non stick chemical while experimenting with refrigerants. DuPont quickly patented it and today we know it as Teflon. All the omelet lovers seriously need to thank Roy Plunkett for his chance discovery!
5. Stainless Steel
In the 20th century, a company called Century Arms manufacturers hired an English metallurgist, Harry Brearly to develop a rust-resistant gun barrel. After testing his creation on corrosives such as lemon juice, he realized that it would be perfect for cutlery. So the next time you enjoy your dinner, you know who you owe your shiny knives and spoons to!
If you ever have an operation, you need to be grateful to three people for anaesthesia: Crawford Long, William Morton and Charles Jackson. In the 19th century, the trio noticed the numbing effects of various drugs such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and ether due to the fact that they were used extensively for recreational purposes, and realised that it could be used during surgery as well
Will Keith Kellogg began helping his brother in cooking meals for patients at the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan where he worked. He stumbled across the recipe of corn flakes after leaving some bread dough sitting out for several hours. When he found the flaky dough he decided to bake it anyway and made history with the invention of corn flakes!
A pointless but amusing toy kids enjoy playing with everywhere is the Slinky! Richard James, a navy engineer during World War II, was trying to figure out a way to employ springs aboard navy ships to keep sensitive instruments from bouncing around when one of the springs fell out. To his amusement the spring bounced in a series of arcs, immediately righted itself and landed upright on the floor!
In 1895 when Wilhelm Roentgen was performing an experiment using cathode rays he realized that some fluorescent cardboard across the room was lighting up in spite of the fact that there was a thick block between the cathode ray and cardboard. The only explanation was that light rays were actually passing through the solid block and thus X-Rays were invented.
10. Post It Notes
In the year 1968, Spencer Silver, a chemist was working for 3M and stumbled across a “low-tack” adhesive that he found was just strong enough to hold paper on a surface but weak enough that it wouldn’t tear upon removal. Upon knowing about his failed attempts at a marketable application, one of Silver’s colleagues named Art Fry realized that it would be perfect as a no- slip bookmark and thus Post It Notes were born!
Do you know about more such inventions which happened by accident? Share with us in the Comments below!