Five world-changing inventions that happened by accident

Most inventions, regardless of their scale, are the result of painstaking work. But history knows a lot of examples when work went in a completely different direction, and then the result surprised the whole world.


In 1895, the German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen did not even think about new discoveries – he faced important, but not so ambitious tasks. Namely, to study the properties of cathode rays (this is a stream of electrons that is supplied from a vacuum tube under voltage).
While conducting one of the experiments, the physicist noticed the atypical behavior of these rays, which he generally took for radiation.
As a result, the studied phenomenon made it possible to assemble the world’s first X-ray machine, which is still used in medicine, technology, forensics and other fields.

Stainless steel

In 1913, the English metallurgist Harry Brearley was looking for a suitable alloy to make weapons. Going through the options, he discovered stainless steel.
Manufacturers of metal products at that time dreamed of such a material, so Brearley quickly found a partner and launched a trade in stainless cutlery, writes


At the time of the invention of dynamite, nitroglycerin was already known, which was used as an explosive mixture. And the task was not to make something explode, but on the contrary, to figure out how to safely transport nitroglycerin over long distances. And diatomaceous earth was perfect for this. But it was possible to pick it up by accident, when nitroglycerin was spilled on it.

By the way, the discovery belongs to Alfred Nobel, the man who later founded the Nobel Prize.

Potato chips

George Krum, the chef at a New York restaurant, is tired of hearing complaints from customers who didn’t like potatoes that weren’t crispy enough.
He cut the potatoes as thinly as possible, fried them in oil, salted them and served them on the tables. According to one version, the chef wanted to piss off the visitor, who annoyed him the most. And the dish is gone. And not to him alone.

Coca Cola

John Pemberton was trying to come up with a remedy for a headache when he mixed cocoa leaves, coconut and syrup. As planned, it had to be diluted with water, but for some unknown reason it was diluted with soda. So there was a drink that we know perfectly well to this day.

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