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Facts About Accidental Inventions That Changed The World

We mostly ignore the small things we use in our daily routine, but many things we use come into being by accident. These accidental inventions have tremendously changed the world. From plastic and potato chips to microwave ovens and matches, several scientific serendipities have a significant impact on our daily lives today. 

Accidental Inventions that Changed the World

Do you know that even the straw we use was invented by accident? Many things we use daily were created by chance. These accidental inventions have changed our world and made our lives better. These accidental discoveries have had a tremendous impact on our world and have greatly improved our daily lives.

From penicillin to plastic, from microwave ovens to matches, these scientific breakthroughs have changed the way we live forever. It’s a testament to the power of human curiosity and the value of chance encounters. These discoveries show that unexpected moments can lead to important breakthroughs.


Accidental Inventions That Changed The World Penicillin
Breaking the Mold: The Accidental Discovery of Penicillin that Revolutionized Modern Medicine

The first antibiotic, penicillin, was discovered accidentally by microbiologist Alexander Fleming. He was researching staphylococcus, but before leaving for vacation, he added some bacteria to the petri dish. He expected these bacteria to grow, but instead of it, he found a mould growing there. He inspected the mould and discovered that the by-product released from the mould inhibited the growth of staph.


You will be surprised to know that anaesthesia, a great invention, has also been invented by accident. Crawford LongWilliam Morton, and Charles Jackson are all behind this great victory. They found that drugs such as nitrous oxide are much more effective than recreational use. However, the surgeon started to use ether in their procedures which opened the way to modern anaesthetics, used in operating theatres today.


Accidental Inventions That Changed The World Dynamite
Dynamites accidental discovery made blasting possible without risking harm.

Gunpowder and nitroglycerin have been around for a long time, but no one knows who first invented them. Alfred Nobel discovered a way to use these substances safely, which led to the creation of dynamite. This accidental discovery made blasting possible without risking harm.


Will Keith Kellogg was helping his brother John cook for patients at a sanatorium where he worked. He accidentally left some bread batter out and when he came back to it, he found it had become the first batch of cornflakes.

X rays

In 1895, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, a German physicist, was studying cathode rays in a tube when he noticed a piece of paper coated in barium platinocyanide glowing in the room. He realized the cathode rays were not causing the glow and named the unknown rays X-radiation.

After more research, he found that many materials are transparent to X-rays and that they can affect photographic plates. He took an X-ray photo of his wife’s hand, showing her bones and a ring, which was very interesting and helped secure his place in the field of science.


Harry Coover invented superglue while he was working at Kodak Laboratories on making plastic lenses for gun sights. He found a synthetic material called cyanoacrylate but thought it was too sticky to have any use. Later, it was rediscovered and became famous as super glue.


Accidental Inventions That Changed The World Coca Cola
The creation of Coca-Cola is a well-known example of an accidental invention that changed the world.

Pharmacist John Pemberton invented the world’s most favourite and popular drink Coke. He originally wanted to discover some medication for ailments like upset stomach and opiate addiction, but instead of this, he came across the Coca-Cola recipe.


You will be surprised that the smelly and soppy kid’s play dough originally came from wallpaper cleaner. People stopped using coal in the first half of the twentieth century to keep their homes warm. In this way, their wallpapers stayed relatively clean. Cleo McVicker got the idea of making play dough, and his son also discovered another use known as modelling clay.


Our kitchen was not the same before 1945. We should all thanks Percy Spencer, who gave us a microwave oven and brought ease into our lives. Percy Spencer was a navy radar specialist researching magnetron when he suddenly realized that the chocolate bars in his pocket started to melt due to microwaves. 

He developed the first box of microwave ovens and found that they cooked food quickly. However, the first home microwave oven was introduced in 1967 by Amana.


Wilson Greatbatch accidentally invented the pacemaker by inserting the wrong resister while researching a gadget that can measure heartbeat. This mistakenly copied an original heart rhythm, thus giving rise to the first implantable pacemaker.


The first form of synthetic plastic was invented in 1907 by Leo Hendrik Baekeland. He wanted to create a replacement for shellac, which was an expensive product made up of beetles. Once doing his experiments, he combined formaldehyde with phenol and heated the mixture. Instead of shellac, new material was formed known as a polymer. This material is unique: it doesn’t melt under stress or heat.

Ice-cream Cones

It may amaze you that ice cream cones were unknown to man until the 1904 world’s fair. At this fair, the ice cream stall was running so well that it failed down the other waffle store. After seeing this, both the stall owners think to roll the wafers and plop the ice creams on its top. This is how we got an ice cream cone.

Potato Chips

Potato chips were accidentally invented in 1853 by chef George Crum. To teach his annoying customer a lesson, Crum made an extra thin layer of his fried French potatoes and fried them until they got crispy. The complaining customer liked these potato chips, which is how they came into existence.


Accidental Inventions That Changed The World Teflon
Frying pan coated with Teflon

A chemist Roy Plunkett is actually behind the great invention of Teflon. He was working for DuPont when he accidentally found a chemical which is non-reactive and non-stick. Roy Plunkett quickly patented it, and today the coating on our pans that keeps our eggs from sticking is known as Teflon.

Vulcanized Rubber

Charles Goodyear had tried a lot to find a way to make rubber resistant to cold and heat. After many failed attempts, he found a mixture that worked. One night, he accidentally spilt some sulphur, rubber and lead onto the stove, resulting in a mix we still use in tires and shoes.

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In conclusion, accidental inventions have had a profound impact on the world. From the creation of penicillin, which revolutionized modern medicine, to the discovery of the microwave oven, which changed the way we prepare food, and transformed the way we stay organized, these seemingly small and chance discoveries have had a significant impact on our daily lives.

These inventions not only improved our quality of life but also paved the way for further innovations and advancements. It goes to show that sometimes the most impactful discoveries are not the result of deliberate efforts, but rather, serendipitous events. Thus, it is important to embrace change and not dismiss it, as it may lead to the next big breakthrough.

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Abhishek Pratap Singh
Abhishek Pratap Singh
Articles: 54

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