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6 Accidental Inventions That Changed Our Lives!

Were you aware all these items were actually accidental inventions?

When we think about accidental inventions, it generally has a bad connotation in our minds since the word accident is involved. Or it is something that was discovered by accident when researchers were trying to invent something else. The truth is also somewhere in the middle, as some accidents have led to impressive discoveries, but we are not going to talk about those today!

Accidental inventions have always been part of the science world, and when we think about it, there are quite a lot of everyday items that were discovered this way. From important components for tech and medical equipment to things that bring us joy, like some snacks or items, there are plenty of accidental inventions that we use on a daily basis without even knowing we were extremely close to them being discovered!

If you are curious about the most important accidental inventions, how they were discovered, and who is behind these brilliant times, make sure you keep on reading!

Have you ever accidentally stumbled upon something important? Let us know your story in the comments below!

accidental inventions
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When we think about how surgeries were performed before modern medicine became so advanced, there is always a chill running down our spine. One of the best blessings the medical world and humankind received was the accidental invention of anesthesia! While there is not a single person to credit for the actual invention of these substances, there are a few people we can thank because they were the first to use anesthesia during their surgeries.

William Moerton, Charles Jackson, and Crawford Long are the ones credited with the first usage of anesthesia, as they have seen how laughing gas performs as a sedative, in addition to the generally recreational use it had before. Laughing gas, known as nitrous oxide, was used back in the day to help people relax, but the three realized it could put people under and sedate them for a certain period of time.

This discovery was definitely a chance encounter, as the three could not have realized the sedation effects of the gas if they had not used it themselves. Eventually, they started to use the gas to sedate patients before procedures, and slowly but surely, the field of modern anesthetics began to form!

Coca Cola

You have probably heard that back in the day, Coca-Cola used to have cocaine in its rooster of ingredients and that a Civil War veteran invented it, but did you know it was actually an accidental invention as well? The truth is that after the Civil War, John Pemberton turned to the field of pharmacy and hoped to be able to come up with a type of medication that would be able to cure or help with different types of ailments, two of the most notable ones being upset stomachs and opiate addiction.

Instead of being able to come up with this type of medication, Pemberton’s research led him to the accidental invention of the world’s most popular drink! No one could have predicted back then that Coke would end up being such a huge success with everyone, but the man’s accidental invention has indeed made a lot of people happy over the years!

And since his main intention was to help cure opiate addiction, this is why the drug was probably on the initial ingredient list in small dosages. Nowadays, it has definitely disappeared from the ingredient list!

If you are curious about the history behind some of these accidental inventions, we recommend that you read more about them in this book by Bill O’Neil: Amazing Inventions That Changed The World!

accidental inventions
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Stainless steel

We all enjoy the fact that our cutlery does not rust, and we can basically just forget about having to polish any type of eating utensil. However, what most of us do not know is that this is all due to an accidental invention, as stainless steel, especially for a culinary look, was not something people had in mind. If anything, this accidental invention was just a second thought for the inventor!

We owe Harry Brearly, an English metallurgist, all the praise and credit for the invention of stainless steel. Back in the 20th century, he was hired by a weapon manufacturer to invent a type of gun barrel that would not end up rusting over time, thus making weapons more durable.

The man got to work, and he soon invented stainless steel. He tested it against most corrosive substances out there, including everyday ones like lemon juice. That was when Brearly realized that this type of metal would be perfect for cutlery and everyday items. Needless to say, the rest was history!


It may seem funny to call inventing a color something akin to an accidental invention, but the simple truth is that it was. Sure, you could find other types of purple in nature and you could mix something akin to it when it came to painting, but it was not a color that was easily on people’s minds. So, how was Mauve invented?

William Perkins was just 18 years old when he ended up having this happy accident. The chemist was trying to find a cure for malaria, and one of his experiments in 1856 went horribly wrong, not yielding the results he wanted and leaving his petri dish a murky mess.

Yet, as he looked closer to the petri dish, he found that the color of it was actually beautiful, and he took more time to examine it. What Perkins actually accidentally invented was the first ever synthetic dye, and he changed the fashion industry forever with his accidental invention! That was the day mauve was created, and it has become a staple color ever since!

accidental inventions
Image By Chinnapong From Shutterstock


Yes, the X-rays that lots of people depend on for getting accurate diagnoses nowadays are an accidental invention! This proves that most ancient inventions have had huge consequences and helped humankind more than we think.

Wilhelm Roentgen performed an experiment in 1895 using cathode rays. That was when he realized that a part of the cardboard in the room that was fluorescent was lighting up. This surprised him, as between the ray and the cardboard there was a thick block, and there should be no way in which that could happen.

The reality was that the rays were passing through the solid block to be able to light up the fluorescent cardboard behind it. Thus the first type of X-rays came to be!

Safety glass

Speaking of accidental inventions that made life better, safety glass is one of these inventions that made a huge difference in the way in which everyday things operate nowadays. A French chemist, Édouard Bénédictus, had accidentally knocked over a glass flask off his desk, and to his surprise, it did not shatter but rather cracked.

Upon investigating, he realized that inside the flask there was liquid plastic, plastic cellulose nitrate, which had evaporated over time. When the liquid plastic evaporated, it left behind a residue that created a thin yet really durable film on the entire inside of the flask.

Bénédictus experimented with the concept a little, and it soon led him to patent safety glass, which is now used all around us. The most common usage we have an example of is the car’s windshields.

If you are curious about other useful, tasty, or everyday items that were also invented by accident, make sure you check out this article here!


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