How do inventions appear? The ability to notice things and phenomena around is exactly the characteristic that allows some attentive people to make an unnoticeable trifle an important scientific discovery or invention. This article presents the 10 most amazing inventions that have emerged partly by chance, but not without the commendable ingenuity of the inventors.
In 1970, Spencer Silver tried to make resistant glue for the 3M company. He received a very slightly adhesive substance that left no marks. A few years later, his colleague, who was tired of having the bookmark often dropped out of the bible during church service, recalled the Silver’s invention. To this day, paper stickers are used as bookmarks for both bibles and academic books.
Artificial sugar substitute (saccharin)
A bag with this substance has become an indispensable companion of morning coffee for many people who consider calories, and, equally important, for diabetics. In 1879, Konstantin Falberg forgot to wash his hands after working with coal tar and unexpectedly discovered their new properties. He dined a roll with his wife and noticed a sweet aftertaste, which, as it turned out, was not from a roll. Today, thanks to the neglect of one scientist rules of hygiene, humanity uses saccharin. Fortunately for us, Falberg’s wife did not find fault with his habits.
Believe it or not, but beloved fruit ice on a stick is only an unsuccessful attempt to prepare a refreshing drink. In 1905, an eleven-year-old boy named Frank Epperson wanted to make his own soda in a popular way at the time. Having mixed the drink, he left the glass on a frosty night with a stick in it, and in the morning with surprise found the result. Eighteen years later, Epperson remembered this case and patented his accidental invention, deciding to make some money on it.
Chips initially appeared as a result of a kind of conflict between the customer and the executor. In 1853, in the city of Saratoga, in one of the restaurants, a picky customer named Cornelius Vanderbilt repeatedly complained about potatoes, which he found too large and raw. After several servings, sent back to the kitchen, chef George Crump (no doubt, rather tired of an awkward customer) decided to cut the potatoes into thin slices and fry them in butter. Vanderbilt, having tasted the dish, was satisfied with what was later called “Saratog chips”.
Medieval wine merchants used to evaporate water from wine before transporting the product by sea. In the barrels remained a concentrated mixture without water, which, apparently, found its calling in the glasses of many young poets and writers a few centuries later.
Cyanoacrylate was originally developed by Harry Coover when he tried to create plastic for ultra-clear military optics in 1942. Although the goal was not achieved, the unusually sticky properties of the material were discovered upon contact with moisture. A few years later, superglue gained deserved popularity, since for effective gluing it did not require additional conditions, such as pressure or temperature. Cyanoacrylate also proved useful for the American Army in Vietnam, where it was used as a means to quickly gum up wounds and stop bleeding.
In 1938, Roy Plunkett and his assistant Jack Rebok worked on a new type of freon (that gas that damages the ozone layer) called tetrafluoroethylene. After mixing it with hydrochloric acid and filling the cylinders with dry ice, the scientists left the mixture for a day. The next day, one of the cylinders was opened, but out of it, contrary to expectations, gas did not come out. Carefully sawing the balloon, the scientists found white flakes inside, which, as it turned out, were highly resistant to temperature and sliding properties. Soon, turning the food in a skillet was an unusually easy task.
In 1945, Percy Spencer, a military engineer and inventor, worked with a magnetron that radiated microwaves needed for radar operation. Standing next to the appliance, Spencer noticed that a bar of chocolate had melted in his pocket. This unexpected find spoiled the clothes of the scientist, but also led to the creation of the world’s first microwave oven (about the size of a refrigerator and half a ton in weight).
This important antibiotic appeared in 1928 as a result of the overwhelming desire of hard-working scientist Alexander Fleming to break away from work and move closer to the warm sea with sunny beaches and spreading palm trees. Going on vacation, the scientist forgot to clean his workplace. Upon returning back, Fleming discovered a “blooming” laboratory (he worked with some fungal cultures), in particular, a strange fungus that was resistant to bacteria. Well, as experience shows, non-compliance with the rules of hygiene sometimes ends quite surprisingly.
Wilson Greatbatch designed the first implantable pacemaker, trying to create a device that reads arrhythmic heartbeats. His mistake was to use too powerful resistance (1 megahm instead of 0.01 megahm). The device produced electrical impulses similar in frequency to the human heartbeat. Greytbatch soon created a handy device that could be implanted directly into the patient’s chest, unlike external pacemakers that burn the skin and cause pain.
Often pay attention to the world around you and never be upset with failures: they can sometimes lead to unexpectedly pleasant results!