16 Things You Didn't Know Were Invented By Total Accident

What's the point in inventing stuff on purpose when things are just inventing themselves?

Every single thing you use today - from food to electronic devices - had to be have been invented by someone, somewhere. This process of developing something new usually involves a painstaking method and lots of time. First you have to identify that a problem even exists. Then you have to go through a laborious period of testing various solutions and developing prototypes. It is no surprise that some of the most important inventions of all time have come from some of the cleverest people to have ever lived. People like Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell, who used their intelligence and dedicated their lives to making your life that little bit easier. Because things like telephones, electricity, light bulbs, and television weren€™t invented overnight. Yet there are a few exceptions to this rule. Sometimes a glorious invention will be the product of a quick moment of improvisation. Other times they can be an unexpected consequence of a person trying to create something else entirely. Very occasionally, though, it will simply boil down to extremely good luck. So sit back and take a look at some of the things that were invented totally by accident, starting with the...

16. Slinky

While trying to develop a new spring that would help to protect sensitive equipment from the effects of strong waves, Richard James came up with the slinky. He thought it was pretty useless until it fell off a shelf and bounced round the room. Seeing the potential frustration he could cause to untold children everywhere when they failed to get it to go down the whole stairs, he marketed it as a toy.

15. Chewing Gum

Thomas Adams was on a quest to create a new type of rubber. He envisioned it being used to make everything from toys, clothing and tyres. Unfortunately, it didn€™t quite work out like that. When it became clear that it wasn€™t really suitable for anything else, he popped it in his mouth - because why wouldn€™t you? - and began to chew it. Thus, chewing gum was born.

14. The Effects Of LSD

LSD was not discovered by accident, but its unusual effects on the human mind were. While carrying out research into the substance, Albert Hofman somehow ingested some of his invention. He noted that his senses were being affected so he went home to lie down but instead began to hallucinate. Thus a scientist was the first person to ever have an acid trip. Awesome?

13. Velcro

George De Mestral was out walking his dog when he noticed that a particular plant continually stuck to his dogs fur. When examining it under a microscope he saw hundreds of tiny hooks. Seeing the potential for sticking things not just to dogs, he began experimenting with synthetic materials to create the same effect. With that classic €œanything nature can do, I can do better€ attitude, he came up with Velcro.

12. Corn Flakes

The Kellogg's brothers were sticklers for not wasting anything, so when they found that they had left some boiled wheat out for hours they decided to make it into dough anyway. Although it came out all flaky, they toasted the individual bits and passed them round to their patients anyway. Luckily, everyone seemed to love the crunchy food, so they got straight onto making what is now the most famous breakfast choice in the world.

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