Accidental Inventions (Household Items)

May useful household items have resulted from simple mistakes. The Post-it notes is a great example. The adhesive was accidentally developed in 1968 by Spencer Silver. In 1974, a fellow employer and a singer in a church choir, Arthur Fry, was trying to find a way to keep bookmarks in place in hymnals.  He decided to try putting Silver’s adhesive on the backs of the bookmarks. Though his idea for the Post-it note did not seem profitable at first, the product was introduced in 1980 and became very popular around the world.

Even more widespread than the Post-it note is the microwave oven, which is a common kitchen appliance in many households. In 1945, while researching for the Raytheon Corporation, Percy Spencer was experimenting with a type of vacuum tube. He was surprised when the candy bar in his pocket started melting. He became curious and tried experimenting with popcorn. The popcorn popped. Ratheon built the world’s first microwave oven in 1947. It was hundreds of pounds and stood about as tall as a human being. It’s huge size and its price of $5,000 dollars kept it from being popular among the general public. Only when the design was modified in 1967 did the appliance increase in popularity.

Bottled water, which today is ubiquitous, has been around a long time. We may not be able to exactly pinpoint the “eureka” moment when some one decided to bottle it, but that decision has made money for lots of people. Although there are records of water bottled sold from a spa in Boston in 1767, the actual bottled water industry in the US really took off in the beginning of the nineteenth century with the advent of new glass technologies making the cost reasonable for mass production and consumption. Historically bottled water from springs was perceived as having not only medicinal properties, but also mythical and spiritual significance. With the introduction of chlorinated municipal water, bottled water went out of style at the start of the 20th century. However the brilliant $5 million marketing campaign in the United States by Perrier fueled a bottled water comeback in 1977. Today, the bottled water industry continues to tout the special properties of natural spring water, as well as bottled “fresh” water that has been purified through an exhaustive seven-stage process that includes, not only reverse osmosis, active carbon filtration, macro and micro filtration, but also ozonization and ultra-violet light. For instance, folks who live in the hot dry climate of Las Vegas, Nevada have to be especially careful to stay hydrated and the key is bottled water. Because it is easy having access to quality online bottled water Las Vegas visitors and residents just need to be aware of its importance and get in the habit of consuming our bottled water on a regular basis.

Another product used in many homes is the artificial sweetener, saccharin, which resulted from an accident in 1879. Constantine Fahlberg, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University, forgot to wash his hands one day after spilling chemicals on them. He proceeded to eat lunch and noticed that his bread was sweeter than normal. He managed to patent it saccharin as an artificial sweetener in 1884, but it did not become widely popular until World War I, during the time when sugar was being rationed. It became even more well known after the mid-1900s, with the production of Sweet’N Low and sugarless soft drinks.

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