Original applications of some fairly common things will sound extremely weird and sometimes even cringe-worthy but these inventions were eventually put to a good use in unintended ways. Some of the world’s most famous, life-altering discoveries were pure accidents, for example, if it wasn’t for dirty petri dishes, Sir Alexander Fleming wouldn’t have discovered Penicillin.
Forget surgery, how about we pull out some bullets with corkscrews? Yup, corkscrews were originally designed for removing bullets from wounded soldiers. I wonder who thought of using them as actual cork screws.
2. Bubble wrap
Well, this one is hard to swallow. At one point in history the most addictive invention ever created was supposed to be used for covering your home’s walls. Although bubble wrapped apartments sound like heaven now, people were not too fond of this idea. Then in 1959 the creators heard of IBM’s big personal computer success and pitched bubble wrap as a packaging material. The rest is history.
Originally this blue pill was meant to treat hypertension, angina, and other symptoms of heart disease. Luckily, after the first testing phase it was revealed that while the drug didn’t actually help with any of the symptoms, male test subjects were experiencing an unexpected side effect: erection. In 1998, Viagra took the American markets by storm and now stands tall, raking in an estimated $2 billion a year.
Believe it or not, we didn’t always have pillows. They were invented to prevent all kinds of nasty bugs crawling into our noses, ears, and mouths while they snooze. Also it’s much more comfy than resting your head on the ground.
“Always Coca-Cola!” – everyone knows this jingle and you’ve probably tried Coca-Cola at some point, but did you know it was originally invented to treat morphine addiction, headaches and anxiety? Well, now you know!
6. Microwave oven
Most teens these days would have starved to death if they didn’t have microwaves. Thanks to an uncanny accident Percy Spencer discovered that standing close to a magnetron (a type of tube that releases energy to power radars) caused a candy bar in his pocket to melt without affecting Percy himself and so he started to experiment with other foods. Eventually he used hard corn kernels to see what would happen. Popcorn happened!
Cornflakes were yet another lucky accident. It all started with Will Keith Kellogg, who was in charge of cooking meals for his brother’s patients at the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan. One day Will forgot about the boiled wheat he left in the kitchen. He came back few hours later to roll the dough and the wheat became flaky. He baked those flakes out of pure chance, creating the first crunchy flakes and changing the breakfast game forever.
Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann was working on potential meds derived from various fungi, and one strain in particular made him famous. This fungus called ergot was used to derive lysergic acid diethylamide, aka LSD which, at first, did not impress the scientists and physicians. Few years later Hoffman gave it a second look and was ‘interrupted in [his] work by unusual sensations’. He then stated he saw ‘fantastic pictures’ and shapes with an ‘intense kaleidoscopic play of colors’ when he came home. And of course people started abusing his invention for fun and play, giving it a different reputation.
How do you go from something that should monitor power on naval battleships to a toy? One day some guy was working with tension springs when one of them fell off the table and started bouncing from place to place. Not as exciting as the LSD story, but it’s still worth mentioning.
10. Chocolate-chip cookie
Here’s one of the best accidents that ever happened to the human kind. While trying to bake regular chocolate cookies, Wakefield discovered that small pieces chocolate didn’t actually melt but instead got stuck in the dough. What a delicious mistake!
11. Potato chips
One day a very picky customer ordered a plate of fried potatoes and he kept sending it back to the chef asking for thinner and better fried slices. Naturally the chef lost his temper and sliced the potatoes insanely thin and fried them until they were hard as a rock. Surprisingly, the customer loved the new crunchy snack and asked for seconds! The customer was either the greatest d-bag ever or a time traveler because how else would he know?
Legend has it that some random cook 2000 years ago simply mixed together charcoal, sulfur, and saltpeter and put this mix in a bamboo tube. Why a cook would do that? Nobody knows, but maybe it’s the same time-traveling potato chips guy!
Roentgen was interested in investigating the properties of cathodic ray tubes, but when he shone light through those tubes, he saw that fluorescent papers in his lab were illuminated even though his machine had an opaque cover. This was only the beginning; today they’re even being launched into outer space by astronomers.
14. Post-it notes
You’d never expect something as trivial as post-it notes to make this list, would you? Their creator was actually trying to make a super-adhesive but ended up with something way weaker. He tried the new glue on different surfaces and noticed that it could be easily torn away without leaving any marks. A few years later his friend used the adhesive on paper notes and thus post-its were born.