The Great Inventions that Happened Just By Accident!

Necessity is the mother of all inventions but some inventions are just unintentional, as a result of a mistake or some observations while working on something else. Did you know about these great inventions below that were merely the result of accidents? Let’s check them out!


To your surprise, the Popsicle was not invented by any chef or someone from the food industry, instead it was accidentally invented by an 11-year-old kid, named Frank Epperson in 1905. Frank left his cup of soda (soda powder mixed with water) with a stirring stick inside, out on the porch on a freezing night. The next morning he found that his soda blend was frozen like an icicle. He licked it and found it to be delicious. He named his concoction as Epcicle (‘Ep’ deriving from his name) and later changed it to Popsicle.

Potato Chips

Has someone’s irrational annoyance with your work frustrated you so much that it led you to an invention? A customer’s annoyance with his French fries gifted this world with the satiating and crispy potato chips. Umm, mouth-watering, right! So, basically in 1853, when a diner at a restaurant complained about one of their specialties ‘thick French fries’ for being too thick, the chef George Crum prepared a thinner batch of fries. Yet the customer was unsatisfied and wanted his fries to be much thinner. The frustrated chef made another batch of fries that were paper thin and put a lot of salt on it, clearly with no intention to please this customer. But the customer loved them so much and so did other customers who tried them. This is how potato chips were invented!


Does it ever happen to you that you’re efforts results in formation of absolutely something else? When that happens, usually the end result isn’t good. But not always! In Cincinnati, Ohio in 1955, Joseph and Noah McVicker manufactured a product called wallpaper cleaner, but the teachers in Cincinnati school found a new way to use the wallpaper cleaner – for art and craft. Learning this, they renamed their product and marketed as play-doh.


A 22-year-old chemist named Robert Augustus Chesebroug, wanting to explore the possibilities of what new materials could be created from petroleum, visited the site in Titusville, Pennsylvania where petroleum was recently discovered. There he observed how men at the drilling site were smearing their skin with a byproduct of the process to heal their cuts and burns. His observation turned into the product known as Vaseline today.

Dry Cleaning

This is literally something that was invented by a sheer accident. Long ago in the 1840s or 1850s, a maidservant of French textile maker Jean-Baptiste Jolly tumbled over a kerosene lamp onto a linen cloth. Jolly immediately discovered that the cloth has become cleaner from the particular area where kerosene got spilled. This revelation made him expand his business in the field of dry cleaning where kerosene was used as the primary cleaning agent.


In 1826, a British pharmacist, John Walker, noticed a dried lump on one of his stirring sticks when he was stirring a pot of chemicals. In an attempt to scrape it off, all of sudden it sparked a flame. This led to the invention of matchsticks which was called “Friction lights” back then.

Safety Glass

While working in his lab back in 1903, a French scientist, Edward Benedictus inadvertently knocked over a glass flask which didn’t shatter into several pieces on hitting the ground. He noticed that the flask is cracked but intact in its shape. On careful observation, he learned that the flask happened to be coated with cellulose nitrate from the inside, which prevented the glass from smashing into a hundred pieces. That’s how safety glass was created. Not all accidents are harmful, some may result in creating protective items!


Penicillin was the world’s first antibiotic discovered by a Scottish bacteriologist, Dr. Alexander Fleming in 1928, completely by accident. After returning home from a vacation, he was examining some colonies of Staphylococcus aureus and noticed a green mold called Penicillium Notatum contaminated his Petri dishes. After the microscopic examination of dishes, he found that the normal growth of the staphylococci had been prevented by the mold. He separated the mold, grew more of it and confirmed his findings and the history was made. Thanks to this accident, today we have the much-needed antibiotic to fight off bacterial infections.

Wasn’t it surprising? Do you know any other stuff that has been accidently invented? The above examples show that positive results only come out when you attempt things and fail! So next time, fail to hail!

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