Many of the greatest discoveries ever made, were by accident. Search pros at TNG/E helped us build this list using search engine tools to find the outliers – which are the most interesting finds. Without any of these items our life would be very different. Anyway, onto the list:
10 – Viagra
Discovered on the welsh village of Merthyr Tydfil in 1992. This medicine was discovered while testing a new angina medication by hard working stiffs. Men around the world owe a salute to these fellows.
9 – Chocolate Chip Cookies
According to Nestle, they obtained the recipe for chocolate chip cookies in exchange for a lifetime supply of chocolate chips. The story goes that Mrs. Wakefield (owner of the toll house inn) was trying to make chocolate cookies when she ran out of baker’s chocolate. She decided to substitute broken pieces of semi-sweet chocolate thinking that it would melt, mixing into the batter which it obviously did not. The result was the delicious concoction we all know and love. Instead of patenting the idea the recipe was promptly sold for chocolate chips and every bag of chips sold today includes a variation of this recipe. Millions of people would attest to the fact that homemade chocolate chips cookies is their favorite cookie to eat when still warm from the oven. When I visited my far removed relative, in Australia I inquired if she was familiar with toll house chocolate cookies? She laughed and said, jut because we live on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, doesn’t mean we are not familiar with this delicious sweet treat. The next time I visited my Aunt sure enough, there was a plate of just baked toll house chocolate chip cookies waiting to be consumed!
8 – Popsicles
(This is one of my personal favorites) An 11 year old boy named Frank Epperson invented the Popsicle in 1905 by leaving a mixture of powdered soda & water with a stir stick on the porch overnight. This mixture froze & to the boys delight he discovered a fruit flavored ice treat that he humbly named the Epsicle. 18 years later he patented this & called it a Popsicle.
7 – Artificial Sweeteners
Many Artificial sweeteners were discovered by accident. Michael Sveda was working on the synthesis of anti-fever medication. He put his cigarette down and when he put it back in his mouth he discovered the sweet taste of cyclamate. Aspartame was discovered in 1965 by James M. Schlatter who synthesized it in the course of producing an anti-ulcer drug candidate. Saccharin is the oldest artificial sweetener it was first produced in 1878 by Constantin Fahlberg while working on coal tar derivatives in Ira Remsen’s laboratory at the Johns Hopkins University.
6 – Brandy
Wine used to be distilled as a preservation method and as a way to make the wine easier for merchants to transport. They intended to add the water back to the brandy shortly before consumption but after having been stored in wooden casks the product had improved over the original distilled spirit.
5 – Teflon
Roy Plunkett of Kinetic Chemicals invented Teflon while attempting to make a new CFC refrigerant in a pressurized storage container. Teflon is inert to virtually all chemicals and is considered the most slippery material in existence.
4 – Microwave
Percy LeBaron Spencer walked past a radar tube and he noticed that a chocolate bar in his pocket melted. He placed a bowl of popcorn in front of it & it quickly popped. Cooking was changed forever.
3 – Potato Chips
George Crum invented the first potato chip near Saratoga Springs, New York, on August 24 1853. After constant complaints from a customer sending his thick and soggy potatoes back to the kitchen Crum decided to slice the potatoes so thin that they couldn’t be eaten with a fork. The customer was ecstatic & they became a regular item on the lodge’s menu under the name “Saratoga Chips”.
2 – LSD
First synthesized on November 16, 1938 by Swiss chemist Dr. Albert Hofmann at the Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, Switzerland it was discovered while searching for medically useful ergot alkaloid derivatives. Its psychedelic properties were unknown until 5 years later. While working with the compound he became dizzy & proceeded home. He was affected by “remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness”. Hofmann stated that as he lay in his bed he sank into a not unpleasant “intoxicated like condition” which was characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. The condition lasted about two hours after which it faded away.
1 – Penicillin
Scottish Scientist Sir Alexander Fleming was studying Staphylococcus in 1928. He discovered a blue-green mold that seemed to be inhibiting growth of the bacteria. Fleming was convinced that penicillin could not last long enough in the human body to kill pathogenic bacteria, and stopped studying it after 1931 but in 1940 he got someone to purify it. Australian Nobel Laureate Howard Walter Florey is attributed with the development of penicillin for use as a medicine. He shared the Nobel Prize with Fleming and Ernst Boris Chain.