Accidental Discoveries That Changed The World

By Raza Mehdi

April 20, 2022


In 1826, English pharmacist John Walker accidentally mixed antimony sulfide and potassium chlorate on his mixing stick. Naturally, he tried to scrape it off across his hearth but it burst into flames – he went on to invent the first friction match.

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In 1895, Wilhelm Roentgen, a professor of physics, was working with cathode ray tubes when he noticed a glow coming from a nearby chemically coated screen. He dubbed the rays that caused this glow X-rays because of their unknown nature.

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In 1933, a team of chemists were working on polymers when the experiment went strangely wrong. A white, waxy residue was accidentally produced, which turned out to be polyethylene, better known as polythene or, more commonly, plastic.

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Bubble Wrap

In 1960, bubble wrap was initially invented as wallpaper. However, after some time, it failed as wallpaper. So people started using bubble wraps as protective packaging materials.

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Corn Flakes

The daily breakfast of millions of people, corn flakes were invented accidentally in 1894, when Will Keith Kellogg left some wheat on the boil for a long time. The famous crispy cereal was created.

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Play-doh was invented by Noah McVicker to clean off soot from home walls. Later, McVicker learned that his schoolteacher's sister was using the ‘dough’ as a modeling clay in her classes. Eureka! It was a toy, not a cleaning product anymore.

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Believe it or not, the popsicle's creator was none other than an 11-year-old boy named Frank Epperson, who simply mixed some soda powder with water and left it out overnight with the mixture frozen entirely by accident.

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In 1945, engineer Percy Spencer was attempting to develop energy sources from active radar equipment. While that didn’t work out, he realised the micro waves had melted the chocolate bar in his pocket, and that’s how we got the microwave!

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Coca Cola

Pharmacist John Pemberton used coca leaves and cola nuts in his quest to find a cure for headaches. Instead, he invented a drink by mixing the two ingredients with carbonated water – resulting in the first Coca-Cola!

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