Amazing Accidental Inventions - How Did They Happen?
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
© 2013 Nithya Venkat