A lot of the everyday items we see today were created for a purpose other than what we use them for. Others were just plain mistakes that were created without any intention of invention. Here are 12 common items that we see everyday, but were invented more by chance than genius.
1. Chocolate Chip Cookies
These were created in 1930 by Toll House co-owner, Ruth Graves Wakefield, when she was trying to create a chocolate dessert. When she discovered that she was running low on chocolate, she decided to use small chocolate chips but was disappointed when the chips did not melt along with the rest of the chocolate. It was for this very reason that chocolate chips became a hit later.
2. Corn Flakes
Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and Dr. William Keith Kellogg were dietitians that believed plainer tasting foods were the key to preventing and decreasing sexual urges. One day, they were experimenting with wheat and accidentally left a batch out, causing it to go stale. They still used the wheat and rolled it out on a flat surface, making thin Corn Flakes that we know and love today.
3. Artificial Sweeteners
Chemist Constantin Fahlberg, came across this invention by accident in 1879 when he forgot to wash his hands after working with coal tar and went home to eat dinner. He noticed that everything he ate tasted sweet, and he soon figured out that this was because of the saccharin which is now used all over the world as a substitute for sugar.
Frank Epperson was only 11-years old when he came across this happy accident. The experimental child decided to try to make his own soda pop back in 1905, but left one of his attempts outside with a stir stick inside. When temperatures dropped overnight, Epperson came to find that his experiment had become an ice-cold treat.
5. Chewing Gum
When this invention came to be, it was because Thomas Adams was attempting to create a natural latex option to replace rubber (but somewhat unsuccessfully). He randomly put the substance in his mouth and found that it was very fun to chew on. He added flavors to the substance and called it “chewing gum” in 1888.
6. Women’s Sanitary Pads
Initially, the pads were called “Cellucotton” and were used to dress soldiers’ wounds until the Red Cross nurses discovered that they made great feminine pads. The brand Kotex was marketed towards women and created in 1920.
There is no certainty as to who created this fermented drink, but a strong theory suggests that it was caused by a weather change. Since wine fermentation is based strongly with temperature and weather, the significant climatic change that occurred in the 1940’s, affected the wine making process. The drop in temperature did not let the yeast completely ferment the grape juice into its second stage and carbon dioxide formed in the drink, now known as champagne.
Kutol Products was a soap company owned by Noah McVicker, and they sold Play-Doh as a wallpaper cleaner. That was until it became popular with kids in craft time at school. The product was re-marketed years later towards children, due to its popularity with schoolchildren.
9. Potato Chips
These were originally known as Saratoga chips because they originated from Saratoga Springs, New York. The potato chip was created when a customer complained that his fried potatoes were too thick and soggy and enraged Chef George Crum. In his fit of anger, the chef went to the extreme opposite and sliced his potatoes super thin and fried them for too long, after which he covered them with salt and served them to the complaining customer. To his surprise the customer loved them and asked for more.
Navy engineer, Richard James, was creating a meter to monitor the horsepower output of ships when one of the springs fell off the table. The spring continued to walk across the floor. James decided to turn it into a toy to amuse kids for hours. The first toy version of the Slinky was released in 1945.
3M was attempting to create a super adhesive 1968 but somehow, created the exact opposite: a product that did not stick very well, was easy to remove and did not leave any residue once removed. The product would have been a failure until one of the scientists, Art Fry, realized that they were perfect to use as bookmarks for his church songs and left no residue.
When pharmacist John Pemberton created the concoction, he meant for it to be used to cure his own headaches. The recipe that is guarded very closely to this day is the result of a pharmacist dumping together a mess of ingredients that happened to taste so good.