Ever pick up something, like a microphone or a glass of milk, and wonder, “How in the..?”
Really… who was the first person to try cow’s milk, and, why?
Anyways, here’s our list of 3 accidental discoveries that changed the world (kind of).
One of history’s greatest examples of marketing genius, Play-Doh, was ironically created in the bygone era of housewives as a means of cleaning coal residue (caused by fireplace use) off of wallpaper. When central heating became a thing, Kutol Products, Play-Doh’s creators, discovered that school children had begun using the malleable compound for arts and crafts purposes. Kutol removed the cleaning solution and added different colors and re-branded their product, taking a company that was “sinking with the ship” and turninn it all around. In the process, they created one of the most iconic and successful toys in human history.
In a moment of serendipity, Navy engineer Richard James was working with the idea of using springs to protect sensitive naval instruments when he accidentally knocked one of his prototypes over. Instead of crashing to the floor, it arched and sprang downward, and then righted itself. We’re sure it surprised and amused James in the moment, but the eventual 300 million sold worldwide is a bit more startling. Everyone loves a….
While hunting, Swiss engineer George de Mestral noticed the annoying tendency of burrs, or those prickly seed cases and flower heads, to stick to his socks (and his dog’s fur coat). Later, looking under a microscope, Mestral observed that the burrs used tiny “hooks” to stick to things. Mestral experimented for years with a variety of textiles before arriving at newly-invented nylon; and it wouldn’t be until two decades later that NASA would help popularize Velcro as a useful everyday item.