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Top 5 Accidental Inventions

Intellectual Property Attorneys

All kinds of famous and revolutionary products that were invented by accident. Sometimes the best inventions are discovered by accident. Here are some of the most famous accidental inventions!


Shellac was made from expensive Asian beetles and used as insulation in electronics. Leo Hendrik Baekeland thought he could produce a shellac alternative and his failed experiments yielded a mold-able material, now called plastic.


Physicist Henri Becquerel ran a series of experiments to see if naturally fluorescent minerals produced X-rays. One day he realized that the uranium rock he had left in the drawer had imprinted itself on a photographic plate without being exposed to sunlight first.


William Perkin, an 18-year-old chemist, wanted to cure malaria but his experiments produced a thick murky mess which turned out to be the first-ever synthetic dye. German bacteriologist Paul Ehrlich then used William Perkin’s dyes to pioneer immunology and chemotherapy.


American engineer Wilson Greatbatch wanted to create a circuit to help record fast heart sounds. He reached into a box and pulled out a 1-megaohm resistor instead of a 10,000-ohm one.


In 1928 Alexander Fleming didn’t clean up his workstation before going on holiday and when he came back he noticed a strange fungus on some of his cultures but not on certain other cultures. Penicillin became the first and is still one of the most widely used antibiotics.

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