Maybe it comes as no surprise that the smelly, gooey stuff kids have been play with for decades was originally intended as wallpaper cleaner. In the early 20th century, however, people quit using coal to heat their homes which meant their wallpaper stayed relatively clean. Luckily for Cleo McVicker, the original inventor, his son discovered another use – modeling clay.
While developing plastic lenses for gun sights, Harry Coover, a researcher at Kodak Laboratories, stumbled across a synthetic adhesive made from cyanoacrylate. At the time, however, he rejected it as being far too sticky to be of any use. Years later though, it was “rediscovered” and is today sold under the trade name of “super glue”
Swiss engineer George de Mestral was on a hunting trip with his dog when he noticed how burrs would stick to its fur. Eventually he managed to replicate the effect in his laboratory but it wasn’t until NASA came along that the technology was really popularized.
They’re not the first electromagnetic wave that was discovered by accident but in 1895 when Wilhelm Roentgen was performing an experiment using cathode rays he realized that some fluorescent cardboard across the room was lighting up in spite of the fact that their was a thick block between the cathode ray and the cardboard. The only explanation was that light rays were actually passing trhough the solid block.
After Édouard Bénédictus, a French chemist, accidentally knocked a flask off of his desk it fell to the ground but rather than shattering it only cracked. Upon closer inspection he realized that it had recently contained plastic cellulose nitrate which had coated the inside of it and kept it from coming apart on impact.