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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Accidents have to led to most of the world famous inventions... Viagra, Chewing Gum, Brandy and many more have been invented by accident

They set out to make certain inventions when these accidental inventions etched their name in history. Let’s talk about such accidents today.

Microwave Oven

In 1946, Perry Spencer was working on magnetron, trying to figure out its probable uses other than the radar arrays. He felt this strange sensation in his pants and realised the chocolate bar in his pocket had melted. It was magnetron’s microwave radiation to blame. This led him to the master culinary invention.

Chewing Gum

Thomas Adams was experimenting with the South American Tree sap, Chicles as a substitute for rubber. Disappointed after several unsuccessful attempts, he popped a piece into his mouth and he liked it. Hence, chewing gum was invented.


Nitrous oxide was a popular party drug back in the early 1800s. In 1844, Horace Wells attended one such event and noted that partaking nitrous oxide has a numbing effect when a particpant under the influence of the laughing gas injured his leg but felt no pain. Nitrous oxide then became the early anaesthetic.


On a hiking trip with his dog, Swiss Engineer George de Mestral noticed the annoying burr that stuck to the dog’s and then to the former’s socks. When inspected under the microcope, he realised it was beacause of the hooks that helped burr stick to fabrics and furs if only he could create them. And Velcro was invented which then became popular with NASA.


A dutch shipmaster heated wine to make it concetrated for easier transport with the idea that it could be diluted at the destination. He discovered that this concentrated wine tasted better than the diluted one. Brandy derived from the dutch word “brandwejin” meaning burnt wine became a hit.


Wilson Greatbatch was working on creating a heartbeat recording device when he accidentally used a 1 mega ohm resistor instead of the 10000 ohm variant. As as consequence, this circuit produced a sound similar to the heartbeat. He fine-tuned the device for regulating heartbeat. This pacemaker was compact and could be implanted in the chest unlike the huge temporarily attached from outside kind available at that time.


In 1879, Constantine Fahlberg was synthesizing chemicals at John Hopkins University in Ira Remsen’s lab when he forgot to wash his hands. While eating, his bread tasted unusually sweet and he noticed it was this chemical’s taste. After performing some tests on this sweetening agent, Constantine got it patented as saccharin leaving no credit for Ira Remsen.


Simon Campbell and David Roberts at Pfizer developed this drug to treat high blood pressure and heart diseases. During clinical trials, they found out that it did not serve the desired purpose and instead treated erectile dysfunctions. Therefore, Pfizer launched it as a medicine to treat erectile dysfunction as Viagra.


Alastair and Jean Carruthers experimented with small doses of this toxin to treat the eye muscle disorder. Disappearing wrinkles was an interesting side effect observed by the couple. Resulting, expressionless faces was the gift of botox to cosmetic science.

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