Accidentally Rich: 3 Inventions That Started As Mistakes

July 03, 2013 - 4:12 am | Permalink

You know how everyone always tells you
that you shouldn’t be afraid of making mistakes? Except that when you
make a mistake, this advice is suddenly forgotten? Well, for some
guys that advice certainly rang true—read on to learn about 5
accidental inventions that made their creators boatloads of money.

Viagra

Yep, that's right. Boner pills were accidentally created. Simon Campbell and David Roberts were a couple of researchers at Pfizer, and their job was to develop a drug that could cut back patient's high blood pressure. Once their product hit the clinical trial phase, their male patients reported some interesting side effects: raging erections. Pfizer, naturally, realized they had hit the jackpot.

 

Potato Chips

All right, so it isn't 100% confirmed that the invention of potato chips was an accident, but the story that circulates amongst chefs and culinary historians (yeah, that's a real thing) is that a cook at a resort in New York named George Crum is responsible for the fattening-but-goddamn-delicious snack.

 

So here's what happened: a customer at the resort orders a plate of french fries. George Crum cooks them up and has them sent to his table—the customer complains that they were too thick and sends them back. George had had just about enough of this BS, but instead of walking out to the dining area and beating the customer to death, he decided to mess with him a bit. George sliced up some potatoes very, very thin, burnt them to a crisp, and dumped salt over them. Much to his surprise, the customer loved his new invention.

 

What makes this story even better (and this part is confirmed to be accurate) is that a few years after the incident with George the chef, a guy named Herman Lay visited the area where potato chips were being served as a local delicacy and “borrowed” the idea. Ever heard of Lay's Chips?

 

Super Glue

This has to be one of the most useful accidents in history. Harry Coover was an employee of a camera company in the WWII era, and the military contracted him to create a durable but still functional gun sight. So he tried all kinds of different compounds and materials, and one of them ended up being really sticky—it couldn't be used for gun sights, but it ended up becoming the adhesive known as super glue a handful of years later.



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