Ice Cream Cones
Although ice cream had been served on dishes for years, it wasn’t until the 1904 World’s Fair that the ice cream cone was born. An ice cream stall at the fair was doing so well that they were quickly running out of plates while the neighboring persian waffle stall was hardly selling anything. The two stall owners then had the idea of rolling up the waffles, plopping the ice cream on top and voila…the ice cream cone is born.
If you have ever cooked an omelet you can thank Roy Plunkett, a chemist who worked for DuPont in the early 20th century for accidentally stumbling across the non reactive, no stick chemical while experimenting with refrigerants. Dupont quickly patented it and today we know it as teflon.
Charles Goodyear had spent ages trying to find a way to make rubber resistant to heat and cold. After a number of failed attempts he finally stumbled across a mixture that worked. Before turning out the lights one evening he accidentally spilled some rubber, sulfur, and lead onto a stove resulting in a mixture that charred and hardened but could still be used.
In the early 1900s shellac was the material of choice when it came to insulation. But due to the fact that it was made form Southeast Asian beetles the material was not the cheapest thing to import. For this reason chemist Leo Hendrik Baekeland thought he might be able to make some money by producing an alternative. What he came up with however, was a moldable material that could be heated to extremely high temperatures without being distorted aka plastic.
The year was 1896 and physicist Henri Becquerel was trying to get fluorescent materials to produce x-rays by being left in the sun. His experiment however, suffered a week of cloudy, overcast skies. After leaving all of his materials in a drawer he returned one week later only to find that the uranium rock he had left there had managed to imprint its image on a nearby photographic plate without any exposure to light.