Ten Inventions Made by Mistake

Medina Creative

Accidental inventions are fascinating because they demonstrate how unintentional discoveries can lead to groundbreaking innovations that change the world. These inventions often occur when inventors are working on something entirely different and stumble upon something unexpected.

Here are ten inventions that were made by mistake:

  • Potato Chips

In 1853, a New York chef created potato chips in response to a customer’s complaint about soggy fried potatoes.

  • Microwave Oven

Percy Spencer discovered the microwave oven in 1945 when a candy bar melted in his pocket due to radar-related vacuum tube experiments.

  • Post-It Notes

Dr. Spencer Silver, a scientist at 3M, was working to develop an incredibly strong adhesive in 1968 but accidentally created a weak adhesive instead. This weak adhesive was later used to create Post-it Notes.

  • X-Rays

Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen accidentally discovered X-rays in 1895 while experimenting with cathode-ray tubes for lightbulbs.

  • Penicillin

Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928 after returning from vacation to find mold killing bacteria in his lab.

  • Matches

John Walker accidentally ignited chemicals on a table while trying to wipe them off a wooden stir stick in 1826, leading to the invention of matches.

  • Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ruth Wakefield, a dietician and food lecturer, accidentally invented chocolate chip cookies in 1930 while trying to make butterscotch cookies. She ran out of baker’s chocolate and substituted it with Nestle semi-sweet chocolate, which did not melt entirely into the batter, resulting in the creation of chocolate chip cookies.

  • Velcro

George de Mestral, a Swiss engineer, examined the pesky burrs that stuck to his clothes when he was walking his dog in the 1940s. He found that the burrs had minuscule hooks that allowed them to easily stick to fabric and fur. This discovery inspired him to develop a fastening system that utilized the same concept, which came to be known as Velcro.

  • Popsicle

Frank Epperson, an 11-year-old boy, accidentally invented the Popsicle in 1905 when he left a cup of powdered soda and water with a stirring stick in it outside overnight, causing the mixture to freeze.

  • Super Glue

 Dr. Harry Coover, a researcher at Eastman Kodak, accidentally discovered super glue in 1942 while working on a research team to develop clear plastics for military guns during World War II. He rediscovered the same formula in 1951 and found that it could be used as an adhesive.

  • Corn Flakes

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, a physician and health reformer, accidentally invented corn flakes in 1894 while trying to create a healthy and easily digestible food for his patients at the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan. He left a pot of boiled wheat to sit overnight, and when he returned to it the next morning, he found that it had become stale. He then passed the stale wheat through rollers to flatten it, but it broke into flakes. He toasted the flakes and served them to his patients, who loved them.


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