7 Amazing Inventions That Were Mistakes Come Good ...


There are some amazing things that actually are the result of inventions that were mistakes. It’s incredible to think that some of our everyday or commonplace objects were accidentally discovered, or are the result of something other than what an inventor or scientist was aiming for. Instead of saying oops and moving on, decisions were made for the inventions that were mistakes to be developed and they became part of our everyday world.

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The Pacemaker

The Pacemaker John Hopps was an electrical engineer who was using radio frequency heating as a method to restore body temperature during his research into hypothermia. At some point, a little light bulb went on in his head, and he came to the conclusion that if cooling could stop a heart beating, some form of artificial stimulation could get it beating again. This led to the development of the pacemaker. It’s brilliant that one of the inventions that were mistakes is today a life-saving device.



Scotchguard Today, many of our household furnishings are protected by Scotchguard and for this we have to thank Patsy Sherman. Ms. Sherman was a chemist at 3M and was working with others on the development of a rubber material that would be resistant to jet aircraft fuels. Prolonged exposure to the fuels caused deterioration in other rubbers. After noticing an area on her shoe that had remained clean while the rest got dirty and stained, she retraced her work back to find the stain resistant compound now known as Scotchguard, that is used all over the world.



Penicillin Another of the inventions that resulted from a mistake is one of the world’s most widely-used drugs – Penicillin. The discovery was made by Scottish scientist, Sir Alexander Fleming in 1928. Fleming was on a quest to find a wonder drug to cure multiple diseases and was known for his untidy and grubby laboratories. He returned from a holiday to a pile of discarded and unwashed Petri dishes to discover a mold that was killing the bacteria around it. He cultivated the mold and penicillin, the fantastic antibiotic, was born.


What started as a laboratory mishap became a medical miracle that changed the world. Fleming's discovery caught the attention of the scientific community, and it wasn't long before others joined the effort to develop penicillin into a drug that could be used to treat various bacterial infections. The work of scientists like Howard Florey and Ernst Boris Chain during the 1940s enabled the mass production of penicillin, which played a crucial role in saving countless lives during World War II and has continued to be a frontline defense against infection ever since. Penicillin's serendipitous origins remind us that sometimes, even our messiest blunders can yield life-saving results.


Post-it Notes

Post-it Notes Despite being surrounded by tech gadgets that can do just about anything, who doesn’t have a use for Post-it notes? And we have 3M to thank for these too. Spencer Silver was trying to make a new strong adhesive in the 3M laboratories when he accidentally created a weaker one than already existed. It stuck, but was easily removed without leaving any marks behind. Initially 3M saw no use for the low-tack, no-mark, reusable adhesive, until a colleague used it on bookmarks to hold places in his hymn book. 3M finally saw the idea’s merits and hey presto, the Post-it note!


Silly Putty

Silly Putty No-one said that inventions that were mistakes have to result in life saving products or change the world of the working office. Some great toys are the results of quests to develop something else entirely. The slinky, for example, came about when Richard Jones, a naval engineer, noticed the behavior of tension springs whilst he was designing a meter to monitor power on battleships. Silly Putty came out of the Second World War – a period in time when so much research and experimentation was funded. James Wright was an engineer at General Electric working on finding a substitute to rubber which was being gobbled up like nobody’s business. His main attention was focused on silicon because it was so widely available. When he added boric acid to silicon oil he achieved a gooey mess that also bounced. It had no value for the purpose he was working toward, but it became a great toy.


Microwave Oven

Microwave Oven Percy Spencer was another of our great scientists who found a marvelous thing during his experiments. His “thing” was the microwave oven. Spencer was conducting experiments on radar using a new vacuum tube when he noticed that the candy bar in his pocket was melting. A brainwave led him to putting popcorn in the machine and when it began popping, Percy knew he had a revolutionary food preparation device on his hands.



X-Rays Surely one of the greatest inventions that were mistakes! Wilhem Roentgen was considered somewhat an eccentric physicist and conducted experiments into all sorts of things that would easily have graced the books of sci-fi novels back in his day (1895). During his investigations into the properties of cathode ray tubes, he noticed that when he shined a light through a tube the fluorescent papers in his laboratory were illuminated, and this was despite his machine having an opaque cover. His discovery of x-rays earned him the first Nobel Prize for Physics in 1901.

I wonder how many other inventions resulted from mistakes. Do you know of any?

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I'm allergic to penicillin lmao but I here it all the time in the hospital. So it must work well

Ice blocks were a mistake "invention" where a boy left his drink and spoon outside in the snow overnight and when he woke up it was frozen :)

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