Without a sloppy scientist, a creative Navy officer’s wife, and a hasty sanatorium chef, we might not have penicillin, the Slinky, or Wheaties today.
Think necessity is the mother of invention? Not always. There is a very thin line between brilliant innovation and absolute failure, as some of these inventors famously found out.
Some of the most popular products we use today were accidents stumbled on by clumsy scientists, chefs who spilled things, and misguided inventors who–in the case of the glue used on Post-it Notes–were trying to create the opposite of what they ended up with. But we can all take comfort in knowing even some huge mistakes can come with silver linings, sometimes big enough to change entire industries. And sometimes, even forgetting to wash your hands has its advantages. [read]