Top 10 Accidental Discoveries

Some great things happen by accident as if not all of the good things in life are really meant to be such. There are those discoveries in modern times that happened not by design but by a certain twist of fate. Here is our list of top 10 greatest accidental discoveries of the modern time.


1. Penicillin

All of us are familiar at how the oversight committed by Alexander Fleming redefined the course of history. Though he may not be credited largely for the development of the first generation of antibiotics; his small contribution in the development of penicillin paved the way for its eventual emergence as the critical treatment protocol during World War II.


2. Microwave


It was during 1945 while Lebaron Spencer was deep into his research on the development of magnetrons as a critical component of the radar system that he accidentally stumbled on the alternative function of his device. It was during one of those tests that Spencer noticed that the chocolate bar inside his pocket melted. It was the first ever act of microwave cooking in modern history.


3. Ice Cream Cones


The discovery of the ubiquitous ice cream was just a result of unplanned encounter which totally changed the course of modern history. Before the advent of the cones, ice creams were originally served on regular dishes. It was during the 1904 World’s Fair that one of the stall operators selling ice cream was forced to improvise after running out of serving dishes for his best selling ice cream. He then forged an agreement with the seller of Zalabia and bought his entire stocks. The seller of the ice cream used this item as the serving vessel and it ushered the birth of ice cream cones.


4. Champagne


Contrary to popular belief, the champagne is a product developed by accident by Dom Pierre Perignon. The original intention of the father of champagne was to formulate a drink that has no bubbles as these are associated to poor wines. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, Dom Pierre Perignon ended with a drink that was heavy with bubbles. This paved the way for the introduction of champagne in France.


5. Post-It


This may be dismissed by some as non-essential. However, a lot of people disagree with this hackneyed attitude towards Post-It. This small but significant discovery was an accidental result of the collaboration between a low key scientist and a churchgoer.

6. Potato Crisps/Chips


The chef of a restaurant accidentally discovered these chips and crisps after repeatedly replacing the food that was being served to a particularly difficult customer. After cutting the fries in thin strips, the customer found this new foodstuff interesting. These potato chips became instant hit in the restaurant as well as in the entire community.


7. The Slinky


The slinky was just an ordinary spring that accidentally fell off a table. Marine engineer Richard James observed that the spring tumbled and stumbled in an interesting motion and form. After a series of trials, Richard James was able to perfect its design and come up with a final version of the toy. It became an instant hit when it was finally launched in the market in 1948.


8. Pacemaker


Wilson Greatbatch, an American engineer, accidentally stumbled on a very interesting product after he erroneously used the wrong kind of resistor for his device.

9. Superglue


The superglue was accidentally discovered in 1942 by Dr. Harry Coover while attempting to isolate the plastic component made for the high precision and high performance gun sights.


10. LSD


LSD was developed not by design but by accident by scientist Albert Hoffman. It was during his research for the production of a medicine that can lessen the pain being experienced during childbirth.


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