Mistakes can be problematic. They can also be life-changing events. Some of the world’s most useful inventions have developed because of mistakes and accidents.
Which of these inventions do you use on a regular basis?
The microwave was invented when a radar array was being repaired. A magnetron was stuck in a person’s pocket and it melted a chocolate bar. That was when it was discovered that microwaves could heat up food.
Rubber materials were in high demand throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. While trying to create a new one, an experimental mixture was dropped on someone’s shoe. That shoe repelled dirt on the spill spots, but nowhere else.
The goal was to create new CFCs for refrigeration. At the end of one experiment, white flakes were found instead of a gas. These flakes turned out to be the chemical components of what has become a very useful non-stick coating.
John Walker was attempting to invent new drugs. One of his solutions turned out to be a combination of chemicals that generated fire when introduced to friction. Then he sold them out of his pharmacy.
5) Smart Dust
When working on a silicon chip, it was accidentally destroyed. Yet, with a power connection, the remaining pieces of the chip continued to operate as a sensor. This event would eventually lead the way to the concept of “connected air.”
6) Safety Glass
During one of his regular experiments, Edouard Benedictus accidentally knocked one of his flasks off his desk. He expected it to shatter. It did not. The flask simply cracked instead. When examined, Benedictus discovered that a plastic cellulose coating inside the flask had stopped it from shattering.
There are many seeds that like to stick to clothing or pet fur when you walk out in the woods. George DeMestral noticed cockleburs doing this to his dog one day, so he decided to look at them through a microscope. What he saw would lead him to the invention of Velcro, which is a combination of the words for velvet and hook in French.
By keeping their eyes open, inventors have discovered many things in the most unlikely of circumstances. Mistakes might be a concern, but history tells us that they can be magical too.
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