Strangely enough, it was while 18-year-old chemist, William Perkin, was busy researching a cure for malaria that he accidentally ended up changing the fashion world forever. The year was 1856, and one of his experiments ended up going terribly wrong, creating what seemed to be nothing more than a murky mess. As he examined it, however, William noticed a beautiful color radiating from the petri dish. Thus, it became the world’s first synthetic dye and introduced the world to the color mauve.
Wilson Greatbatch was working on a contraption that would record human heart beats when he accidentally inserted the wrong resistor. It ended up perfectly mimicking the heart’s rhythm, creating the first implantable pacemaker.
In 1968, Spencer Silver, a chemist working for 3M, stumbled across a “low-tack” adhesive that he found was just strong enough to hold paper to a surface but weak enough that it wouldn’t tear upon removal. After many failed attempts at finding a marketable application, one of Silver’s colleagues, Art Fry, realized that it would be perfect as a no-slip bookmark, and the Post-it Note was born.
Every reluctant cook should be grateful to Percy Spencer, a navy radar specialist who was tinkering around with microwave emitters, when he felt the chocolate bar in his pocket start to melt. The year was 1945, and the world, or rather the kitchen, hasn’t been the same since.
During World War II, navy engineer Richard James was trying to figure out a way to employ springs aboard navy ships to keep sensitive instruments from bouncing around when he accidentally dropped one of them. To his amusement, the spring immediately righted itself and landed upright on the floor. Since then, kids everywhere have enjoyed playing with this springy, metal toy.