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Accidental Inventions That Changed the World

Batul Nafisa Baxamusa Feb 9, 2019
Accidents may be catastrophic but some accidents have led to important inventions. Have you incidentally stumbled upon this page in search of accidental inventions that changed the world? Here are some interesting facts about things that we use in our daily lives that were the result of accidents.
Accidents do happen and not always lead to tragedies. They helped some people become really rich and famous as they bank upon their bloopers and blunders. You will be surprised to know that most of these inventions that have become a part of our daily lives were created by chance!

Champagne

A Benedictine monk wanted to create a bubbly wine. Instead, 2 years of constant work led to the formation of sparkling, white liquid, that is known as Champagne.
Champagne is the result of an accidental discovery of the 17th century. Dom Pierre Pérignon, is believed to have come up with it. What he actually wanted to create was a white wine favored by the French court. He devised a unique way to extract juice from the grapes. As Champagne has a relatively lesser temperature, it took two seasons to ferment it.
When the bottle was opened, bubbles were found; it was carbon dioxide. All his efforts to eliminate the bubbles were futile. However, the aristocratic French crowd enjoyed it and eventually it became a hit amongst the Englishmen too.

Microwave Oven

A microwave oven is an essential appliance in today's modern homes. We treat ourselves with hot, cooked meal with a mere push of a button. What was once known as "Popcorn and Hot Pockets Warmer," was actually an unintentional invention.
Percy LeBaron Spencer, an engineer working on radar technology after WWII, had a weakness for chocolates that led him to stumble upon this remarkable idea. While working with the magnetron in the lab, a bar of chocolate melted in his pocket which he proposed was due to the invisible rays and not body heat.
Soon, his fascination with the invisible radiation rays helped him design the microwave. Soon he began exploding eggs and popping popcorn with his microwave oven.

Pacemaker

One of the greatest inventions of all time in the medical history, is perhaps the pacemaker. This lifesaving device is a contingent discovery by Wilson Greatbatch. He was working on a circuit that helped record fast heart sounds.
Greatbatch incidentally replaced a 10,000 Ohm resistor with a 1 Megohm resistor. Later realizing that his circuit pulsed for 1.8 milliseconds, he stopped for one second, and repeated the cycle, creating the perfect heartbeat.

Penicillin

Those unaware of Sir Alexander Fleming and his accidental finding, here's what happened. Sir Alexander Fleming was working on a strain of bacteria called Staphylococcus, and left one of the culture plates in a sterile environment, that got contaminated with fungus.
Fleming observed that the bacteria refused to grow in the contaminated area, his findings were published and soon work began on it by other scientists. Not until 1945, penicillin was produced on an industrial scale. This changed the way doctors treated nasty bacterial infections.

Vulcanized Rubber

The inventor of tire rubber was a man named 'Charles Goodyear'. Sometime during the 1830s, he used acid to smoothen and toughen the rubber. He sold his mailbags made of the acidulous rubber to the government only to be subjected to denial yet again as the rubber was defective.
Goodyear tried again in 1839, and failed. Miserably frustrated, he flung a piece of rubber in a hot stove and voila! He realized the burnt remains of the rubber were far more durable and weatherproof. This is how he came up with 'vulcanized rubber'. However, one should note that the company 'Goodyear' was founded about 40 years after his death.

Teflon

In the 1930s, Unaware of the effects of the CFCs on our ozone layer, they were emphasized upon in the refrigeration industry.
One chemist, Roy Plunkett working on similar lines, came up with a theory that if he could react a compound TFE with hydrochloric acid, an improved coolant could be produced. He cooled the TFE gas and pressurized it in canisters to store it for further use.
When he opened the canisters, to his astonishment, he found flakes falling out of it, he forwarded these to other scientists at DuPont, an American chemical company and the rest is history.

Super Glue

Dr. Harry Coover, in 1942, worked for Eastman Kodak. His job was to find a plastic that could be used as a clear gun sight. During his research, he observed that the cyanoacrylate compound used, was very sticky. It polymerized on contact with moisture and stuck to the test material. He, thus, discarded it.
After about 6 years, Coover again came across cyanoacrylates. This time he set to work on it realizing it could form an adhesive that did not require heat or pressure to develop a strong bond. With a bit of chemical change, "Alcohol-Catalyzed Cyanoacrylate Adhesive Composition" or super glue came into existence.

Safety Glass

Edouard Benedictus, a multi-talented Frenchman, who was a painter, composer, writer, and a chemist, accidentally knocked off a flask of a shelf and thought it would have broken into pieces. To his surprise the flask did break but had not shattered completely.
After inquiring, Benedictus found out that the glass contained cellulose nitrate which acted as an adhesive. He came up with 'Triplex' within 24 hours, which was durable and used in production of gas masks for WWI. It was also used for windshields and windows of the cars.

Potato Chips

Potato chips―a discovery that changed the world, or rather the waistlines! It is said that one fine day in 1853, a customer (many identify him as Cornelius Vanderbilt), went to a restaurant in Saratoga, New York for dinner.
The customer refused to eat the fries served to him as they were too thick and soggy. When several plates were returned, the chef George Crum sent out thin, fried slices of potatoes, who found them to be a tasty treat. Others wanted to try the new dish and soon 'Saratoga Chips' were added to the menu.
Accidents will happen. One has to find an opportunity with every failure. In no time, a weird invention can turn out to be a revolutionary creation.