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Amazing Accidental Inventions - How did they happen?

Updated on September 17, 2016

Many inventions have happened by sheer accident. Without these accidents, we will not have many things that we enjoy today. Accidental Inventions have contributed significantly towards making the whole experience of living life an enjoyable one.

Presenting some of the most "Amazing Accidental Inventions" -

George Crum
George Crum | Source

Potato Chips

George Crum was a chef at the Moon’s Lake House near Saratoga Springs, New York. Crum was an excellent chef and was very proud of his cooking. In 1853, a guest at the Moon Lake House complained that Crum’s fried potatoes were too thick and soggy. This was an insult and a blow to the Chef’s pride.

Just as an act of revenge for having complained against his potato fries, Crum decided that he would do just the opposite. He sliced the potatoes very thin and fried it, till it was very crisp. He then sprinkled a lot of salt over his fries thinking that the guest who complained will hate the dish. To Crum’s great surprise, the guest loved the thin potato fries, and he ordered for a second serving.

Crum’s thin crispy potato fries were named the “Saratoga Chips”. This became a hit across New England, and Crum opened his restaurant. Today we all enjoy Crum’s version of the potato chips.

Ruth Graves Wakefield
Ruth Graves Wakefield | Source

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ruth Graves Wakefield and her husband Kenneth owned a Toll House Inn in Whitman Massachusetts. Mrs.Wakefield cooked for the inn’s guests. One day in 1930, Wakefield ran short of her “Butter Drop Do Cookies”. These cookies were very popular with her guests, and she was worried that her guests would be very upset if they did not have their favorite cookies.

Wakefield took a bar of Nestle’s unsweetened chocolate and broke it into tiny bits and mixed them into the cookie batter. She thought that the chocolate would melt as the cookie was baked. This did not happen, when she took the baked cookies out of the oven she noticed that the chocolate bits had melted only a little bit in the cookies.

The guests loved the cookies. Wakefield’s Chocolate chip cookies became a big success. Today we enjoy different versions of Wakefield’s chocolate chip cookies.

Percy Spencer
Percy Spencer | Source

Microwave Oven

Percy Spencer was responsible for the accidental invention of the microwave oven. Percy Spencer was a leading scientist during World War II and was on a visit to Raytheon company. During that visit, Percy Spencer was standing in front of a magnetron and noticed that the candy bar in his pocket had melted due to the heat.

Percy Spencer decided to use corn kernels and see what happened when they were subjected to heat from the magnetron. After further experiments with other foods, Percy Spencer designed a machine with the same technology that came to be known as the microwave.

John Harvey Kellogs
John Harvey Kellogs

Cornflakes

Will Keith John Kellogs was responsible for the accidental invention of Cornflakes. He used to assist his brother who was a doctor at the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan. They used to work with the patients, formulate their diet and worked on creating better meal plans.

One day while Will Keith John Kellogs was making bread dough he accidentally left the boiled wheat outside for several hours. When he returned to roll the ingredient into a dough, he found that it had become flaky. John Kellogs was curious to know what would happen to the wheat flakes if he baked them.

When he baked the dried wheat flakes, they turned into a crunchy, flaky snack. The patients were given this snack, and they all loved it. After the success of the crunchy snack with the patients, John Kellogs improved the recipe and modified it so that it could be produced on a large scale.

He launched "The Battle Creek Toasted Cornflakes Company" in 1906. Today the company is known as the Kellogs Corn Flakes.

Alexander Fleming
Alexander Fleming

Penicillin

Penicillin was invented by accident by Alexander Fleming from Scotland. Alexander Fleming was a bacteriologist.

One day, Alexander Fleming returned to his lab after a two-week vacation. He noticed in one of his Petri dishes there was a mold of unknown origin growing well and that the bacteria originally introduced into the petri dish did not grow.

Alexander Fleming isolated the mold, classified and described it. He tried to grow the mold in a large scale for killing harmful bacteria, but he was not able to do so.

Nearly 13 years after Fleming’s accidental findings, Howard Florey, Norman Heatley, and Andrew Moyer conducted more research on Alexander Fleming’s findings. They replaced the mold grown by Fleming with a better one (Penicillin) that could be grown in large quantities for medical treatment. From then on Penicillin has been and still being used around the world for treatment.

Dental Anesthesia
Dental Anesthesia | Source

Anesthesia

Crawford Long, William Morton, Charles Jackson and Horace Wells contributed to the Anesthesia that is being used today in the medical field for surgical procedures. Anesthesia numbs the pain and is used before any surgical procedure.

Crawford Long, William Morton, Charles Jackson and Horace Wells realized that ether and nitrous oxide also known as laughing gas inhibited pain.

In 1844, Horace Wells noticed that a participant in the exhibition that he was attending did not feel any pain when he injured his leg. Horace Wells also noticed that the participant was under the influence of nitrous oxide(laughing gas) when he was injured.

After this discovery Wells, Morton and Jackson collaborated and started to use these compounds (ether and nitrous oxide) as anesthesia to kill pain in dental practices. Crawford Long used them in minor surgeries. From then on anesthesia became a vital part of surgeries.


References

science.howstuffworks.com

csmonitor.com

stuffyoushouldknow.com

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    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Very interesting. So many things we take for granted today, we only have by dumb luck! I have a hub on inventions by women - I learned a lot researching that one. Thanks, too, for your documentation, the mark of a good researcher. SHARING

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Kathleen Cochran thank you and yes we take so many things for granted. Thanks for your appreciation and the share.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Wow, I cannot imagine life without chips! : ) How fascinating, especially these specific inventions for sure!

      Excellent hub! Up and more and sharing

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • JPSO138 profile image

      JPSO138 3 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

      The great thing is that they are making a lot of gains out of it. How I wish that we can also come up with one.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love hubs like this about unusual stuff...thank God someone invented chocolate chip cookies. LOL

    • JG11Bravo profile image

      JG11Bravo 3 years ago

      Very interesting. I wasn't aware of a few of these being accidental discoveries. Voting up.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Faith Reaper thank you, me too!! Life will never be the same without chips!! Yummy!! Thank you for reading, vote up and share. Much appreciated. Thank you for your blessings.

      JPSO138 yes me too!! It would be awesome! Thank you for your visit.

      billybuc thank you. Yes, thank dear God that someone invented chocolate chip cookies!! Life is way better when you munch on one!!

      JG11Bravo thank you for reading and the vote up.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This was very interesting, esp. the microwave, funny how so many of the things we enjoy today was discovered by accident. Presentation excellent!

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan Robert Lancaster 3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Some of the best things are come about accidentally. What you call 'chips' are crisps over here. We used to have factories that just produced crisps and nothing else. Nowadays the market is concentrated in the hands of a few big names like Walkers and Golden Wonder. There are other makers, and they sell well enough outside their own region to merit sitting on Supermarket shelves as far away from West Yorkshire as Tesco's in London. Kettle Chips go down well here as well, but it's still "Pass the crisps", when somebody wants a handful.

      Most modern 'accidents' are more like originally created for the military, like mini cameras, mobile phones (cellphones to you) and ordnance survey maps etc that walkers and tourists use around Britain.

    • lone77star profile image

      Rod Martin Jr 3 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Fascinating.

      It takes a little humility to be able to learn from such accidents. I hope Mr. Crum was grateful when his "revenge" turned out to be popular. Mustn't let ego spoil something wonderful. ;)

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      always exploring thank you so much, you made my day!!

      alancaster149 thank you for your visit and sharing so much of information with us.

      lone77star thank you for reading. Am sure Mr. Crum was on top of the world!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Amazing Accidental Inventions great inventions indeed and are so useful to all you have created an informative and useful hub on this topic.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      DDE thank you for reading and leaving a comment.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi vellur, that was fascinating! I knew about the antibiotics, but not how the microwave came into being or even crisps/potato chips etc, wonderful! voted up and hub shared, nell

    • mythbuster profile image

      mythbuster 3 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Hello Vellur,

      A great hub. I only knew about the Cornflakes invention before reading your article. Wow, a number of really important inventions - by accident! (health care items) and some really tasty inventions, too (cornflakes, potato chips, choco-chip (Tollhouse?) cookies - yum). Thanks for researching on these accidental inventions/discoveries and sharing with us.

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 3 years ago from Northern Ireland

      I knew about penicillin but not about the others. Really interesting!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      Great collection of accidental inventions! After reading this wonderful hub I'm wondering just how many more there are. So, not only have you educated us but I'm sure you've piqued curiosity to learn more.

      Thank you for this delightful education, and tasty too!

      Voted up, useful, interesting and shared.

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 3 years ago from Southern Clime

      Awesome accidents!

    • my_girl_sara profile image

      Cynthia Lyerly 3 years ago from Georgia

      Love it!

    • idigwebsites profile image

      idigwebsites 3 years ago from United States

      We thank all those culinary, scientific and medical geniuses for the yummy foods, tools for convenience and life-saving medicines. We're glad that they discovered and invented these things by accident. :)

    • Kristine Manley profile image

      Donna Kristine 3 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      What a cool Hub! I love this.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Such interesting facts! The potato chip story is so interesting as well as the cookie recipe. Isn't it great how anesthesia became to exist.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Nell Rose thank you for your visit and the share.

      mythbuster thank you. These inventions are really great!

      DreamerMeg thank you.

      tillsontitan thank you. You said it right, these inventions are delightful and tasty!

      Levertis Steele thank you.

      my_girl_sara thank you.

      idigwebsites thank you.

      Kristine Manley thank you.

      CraftytotheCore thank you, these inventions are really interesting!

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 3 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Wow, what an amazing hub! I sure learned a lot.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Love this! While I'm thankful for all of these inventions, my hat goes off to the group for coming up with anesthesia. Can you imagine having surgery or painful dental procedures without it? Thanks so much. Audrey

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      I could kiss these people. Who'd have thought they were accidents? Cool hub.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Careermommy thank you am glad you learned a lot.

      vocalcoach I cannot imagine all the pain without anesthesia. Thank you for stopping by.

      WiccanSage thank you for reading.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Great hub Vellur.

      Eddy.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Eiddwen thank you.

    • vaneet2310 profile image

      Vaneet Mengi 3 years ago from Delhi

      Wow...I was not aware of these accidents. Really interesting.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I had no idea that these inventions were accidental! Thanks Vellur :) I like the cornflakes part the best - very cool to learn!

    • carlarmes profile image

      carlarmes 3 years ago from Bournemouth, England

      These inventors were searching for a solution for one thing and found the answer for something else, they had open minds that allowed them to see opportunities when they crossed their path, many people can't see opportunities even when it is in front of their faces.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      So interesting! Now what would we do in life without any of these! Especially the anesthesia. Ouch. ^

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      This is awesome--especially the story about the chocolate chip cookies!

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      vaneet2310 thank you for stopping by and yes I totally agree WOW!!

      ChristyWrites thank you for stopping by, I love the cornflakes and chocolate chip cookies!!

      calrames very true, people can't see opportunities even when it is in front of their faces.

      Jackie Lynnley yes I can't imagine life without anesthesia. Thank you for reading.

      Victoria Lynn thank you for stopping by. Yes the chocolate chip is amazing.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      All of these inventions are priceless and so glad that someone provided them for us, especially the chocolate chips.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      teaches12345 yes am glad too, thank you for your visit.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      teaches12345 yes am glad too, thank you for your visit.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      teaches12345 yes am glad too, thank you for your visit.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      teaches12345 yes am glad too, thank you for your visit.

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London

      Very nice hub Vellur, i wasn't aware of some of them so i found it very interesting and educational!!

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Mike Robbers thank you and am so glad you came to know about them.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Mike Robbers thank you and am so glad you came to know about them.

    • nighthag profile image

      K.A.E Grove 3 years ago from Australia

      A fun informing read :) thanks so much

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      nighthag thank you, am glad you enjoyed.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Vellur, very informative.

      I enjoyed this. The only ones I knew of were Fleming and Kellogg. Well done.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Jodah thank you and am glad you enjoyed.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      This cause is veryc close to me as my own mother and my beautiful son were taken from this nasty cancir, I also lost my best friend with cancer.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      vocalcoach very sorry about the loss of your mother, son and best friend to cancer. I really pray that people with cancer can be completely cured.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Amazing and interesting information! I enjoyed going through. Thanks!

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Chitrangada Sharan thank you, am glad you enjoyed.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 3 years ago from USA

      It is interesting how so many inventions arise from accidents. This was very informative - I knew about the corn flakes, but I hadn't heard about the rest.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Millionaire Tips thank you for your visit and yes it is indeed amazing.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Wow Wow! What a great and entertaining read. I,m so glad that I found hubpages 6 month ago. This was a very informative hub for me. I was only aware of two stories. Penicillin and Cornflakes. For me Cornflakes is not food, but they feed it in S.A to hungry schoolchildren, which is very sad. It's a marketing scheme.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Nadine May thank you and am glad you found my hub informative. It is sad that they feed cornflakes instead of a wholesome meal. Thank you for stopping by.

    • Inspired Heart profile image

      Yvette Stupart 3 years ago from Jamaica

      Thanks for the information. Many of the items we use everyday, yet to think that these were accidental inventions!

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Inspired Heart thank you, yes you are so right.

    • word55 profile image

      Word 2 years ago from Chicago

      Good to know awesome info! Thank you for sharing.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      word55 thank you for stopping by.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 20 months ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Well now! Lots of fascinating inventions that makes one want to get creative and explore a bit. Keep the gems coming.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 20 months ago from Dubai

      Reynold Jay thank you for your visit.

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 18 months ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      Some great things happen for all of us. This was a very interesting article. Thanks for the information.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 18 months ago from Dubai

      ladyguitarpicker thank you and yes great things do happen for all of us.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 14 months ago from the short journey

      These accidental inventions remind me that it pays to pay attention! A neat read that helps us remember that we never know what will happen next!

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 14 months ago from Dubai

      RTalloni thank you for your visit and comment. Life is amazing, we do not know what will happen next as you say.

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