Sometimes, accidents can be a good thing. Everything on this list was either invented for a different purpose or happened because someone made a mistake. Once they were discovered, we can't imagine life without them!
In 1905, eleven-year-old Frank Epperson left his soda-making tools outside overnight. The next day, the stick he'd used to stir the water and flavored powder mixture had frozen, creating the first popsicle. Almost twenty years later, the adult Epperson applied for a patent to make popsicles.
This treatment for hair loss was discovered when scientists noticed that patients taking the blood pressure drug Loniten experienced the added bonus of making their hair thicker.
3Chocolate Chip Cookies
Innkeeper Ruth Wakefield, owner of the Toll House Inn in Wakefield, Massachusetts, was trying to bake a chocolate dessert for her guests, but the chips didn't melt thoroughly. Her guests loved the chocolate chip cookies... and who could blame them?
In 1945, an engineer working for Raytheon discovered that a candy bar in his pocket melted while he was working with a magnetron device that was used in military radar systems. Realizing that the radiation was cooking his candy, inventor Percy Spencer developed the first microwave, which at the time was more than five feet tall!
According to How Stuff Works: "Fireworks originated in China some 2,000 years ago and legend has it that they were accidentally invented by a cook who mixed together charcoal, sulfur, and saltpeter -- all items commonly found in kitchens in those days."
From About.com: "A soap maker at the Procter and Gamble company had no idea a new innovation was about to surface when he went to lunch one day in 1879. He forgot to turn off the soap mixer, and more than the usual amount of air was shipped into the batch of pure white soap that the company sold under the name The White Soap. Fearing he would get in trouble, the soap maker kept the mistake a secret and packaged and shipped the air-filled soap to customers around the country. Soon customers were asking for more "soap that floats." When company officials found out what happened, they turned it into one of the company's most successful products, Ivory Soap."
Viagra was invented by Pfizer scientists who were working on a drug for heart conditions. The drug's side effect of sending blood flow to another area of the body (ahem) turned out to be a godsend for many people with erectile dysfunction!
In 1853, chef George Crum was annoyed by a customer who kept sending his fried potatoes back to the kitchen, complaining that they were not crunchy enough. Crum sliced the potatoes very thinly, fried them, and added salt. The crunchy chips quickly became a local hit in New England and were called "Saratoga Chips," after the town in which they were invented.
From SlashFoods: "The Legend of Kaldi maintains that an Abyssian or Ethopian goat herder noticed that his flock was acting especially frisky after chowing down on some bright red berries. After sampling some for himself and verifying the mood shift, he brought the berries to a local imam who studied them, eventually roasting and boiling a batch in water."