Many of the products we use in our daily lives were in fact created in error. It is thanks to these mistakes that many products form part of our everyday lives. Here are 10 inventions that should never have existed.
In 1968, the chemist Spencer Silver, without ever meaning to, created a glue that didn’t really stick. In fact, the glue kept sticking to one of the two sheets that he wanted to join together. And in 1974, a colleague of Silver’s decided to use this glue in his song book, to stop his bookmarks from falling out. Post-Its were finally brought into being at the end of the ’70s, rising to a success that we still know today.
2) Coca Cola
John Pemberton was an American pharmacist who suffered a number of injuries during the American Civil War. In trying to ease pain, he took a lot of morphine, to the point of becoming addicted. He therefore decided to create a new medication that would help in giving up morphine. In 1885, he discovered a recipe for a drink that was called French Wine Coca. The alcoholic drink was made from coca, kola nut and damiana. However, in 1885, alcohol was prohibited in Atlanta. Pemberton therefore found a new non-alcoholic recipe for the drink, still based on coca, an ingredient that finally would disappear from the recipe in 1903.
In 1938, Roy Plunkett, a 27 year old chemist, was working on the development of a new coolant. He wanted to cool tetrafluoroethylene in dry ice. In the process, he discovered that the gas polymerizes to become a waxy and white powder that resists temperatures of up to 260°C. Roy Plunkett therefore accidentally discovered polytetrafluoroethylene.
4) Tart Tatin
The discovery of the recipe for Tart Tatin is known for being one of the most successful mistakes ever made! Legend has it that it was the Tatin sisters who came up with the recipe for this well-loved tart, discovered at the end of the 19th century. One of the two sisters tried to make an apple tart, but realised too late that she had forgotten the pastry. She therefore decided to put the pastry over the apples, and turn the dish upside down to serve it.
On the 3rd of September 1928, Scottish researcher Alexander Fleming accidentally discovered penicillin. Before going on his holidays, he had left staphylococci cultures to develop, and he realised on his return that mould had developed in the containers. After several analyses, he realised that it was a strain of microscopic fungus, penicillin chrysogenum. He also observed that one area was free of mould, in which no staphylococci had grown. This was in fact an antibacterial substance secreted by the fungus, which he baptised ‘penicillin’.