Sometimes the best inspiration is random chance…
1. Post-It Notes
A chemist at 3M was experimenting with new adhesives when he accidentally glued himself to a wall. Over the next six months, his coworkers taunted the helpless man by drawing crude messages on his face and clothing, but also gave him the idea for the Post-it note. Although he never escaped the wall in his lifetime, today his invention can be found in offices everywhere.
“Hey! My house is rolling away!” So goes the famous words of Henry Ford after mistakenly building a very tiny house with wheels instead of a foundation. Just like that, the Model T was born!
An engineer was experimenting with radar and vacuum tubes when he noticed his lab was on fire. He looked out the window and saw the city was engulfed in flames, every building burning and people screaming and roasting. He turned on the TV and saw the whole world was on fire; all the forests were ablaze and the oceans were boiling. Then he turned down the power level on his machine and discovered it worked great at making popcorn.
4. Einstein Sticking Out His Tongue Posters
Albert Einstein failed in his quest to develop a unified field theory, but he succeeded in making a goofy poster that livens up thousands of dorm rooms.
This plastic polymer was invented by a scientist who was grieving for the death of his wife. He only wanted to destroy nature as revenge against God, but discovered that in addition to lasting forever, it also made a pretty good coffee cup.
This wonder drug was discovered after Alexander Fleming was a little careless in the lab and let mold grow on a petri dish. After eating a bit of the mold, Fleming found out he was immortal, with skin tougher than diamonds, immune to all injury and the ravages of age. At first, he was thrilled to transcend mortality and behaved like a young god, spending his nights reveling in wine and women. Eternity was a party and he indulged in every vice. However, over time, Fleming grew lonely, forced to bury lover after lover and see his friends wither into old age while he remained young. He considered sharing his penicillin serum with others, but rightly realized that immortality is a curse that no one else should suffer. Instead, he diluted the mold down so that it would only cure diseases, but not steal the blessed gift of death. Today, Fleming still walks the earth, never lingering in one place for long to prevent the bitter barb of love from rooting in his heart. Goes to show that in science there are no accidents, just experiments.
According to legend, hundreds of years ago a leatherworker was trying to find a way to drain all the fluid out of cows and turn them into empty leather sacs. Instead, he discovered that squeezing the udders produced a delicious beverage. Talk about blind luck!