7 Lucky Inventions
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we’re highlighting seven inventions that became tremendously successful as the result of luck.
Ivory Soap: One of Proctor & Gamble’s Oldest Products
A Proctor & Gamble employee went to lunch, leaving a soap mixer unattended. This over-whipped soap accidentally made its way through production and was sent to customers, who liked the fact that it now floated and demanded more of it.
Pacemaker: More Than 100,000 Implanted Each Year in the U.S.
American engineer Wilson Greatbatch was working on a heartbeat recording device when he accidentally inserted the wrong resistor, which caused the device to emit electrical impulses that were similar to those of the human heart. The device was small enough to be implanted, creating a new life for cardiac patients worldwide.
Ice Cream Cone: Joy Ice Cream Cone Company Makes 1.5 billion Cones/year
At the 1904 St. Louis Worlds fair, an ice cream seller ran out of bowls. Ernest Hamwi, a waffle booth owner, rolled up one of his waffles, creating the first ice cream cone.
Slinky: 400 Sold During its 90-minute Debut Demonstration
While working on a project, U.S. naval engineer Richard James saw a spring fall off of a shelf and watched it “step” before it came to a stop. He then experimented with different varieties of steel before creating a “walking” spring. His wife named it the “slinky” after coming across the word in a dictionary.
Coca-Cola: 24+ Billion Sold Annually
After mixing ingredients in an attempt to create a cure for headaches, pharmacist John Pemberton created a concoction that quickly became popular in local pharmacies. After he was forced to create a non-alcoholic version of his mixture, Pemberton accidentally stumbled across the now infamous “secret formula” and Coca-Cola was born.
Velcro: Used by NASA, the US Army, and Held Together the First Artificial Heart
Georges de Mestral was taking a morning walk when he noticed how hard it was to remove the seeds of burdock plant from his pants and his dog’s coat. After looking at them under a microscope, he noticed their hooks, which inspired his creation of the hook-and-loop fastener. 10 years later, that became Velcro.
Post-it Notes: More Than 1,000 Products Sold in 150 Countries
Arthur Fry, a scientist at 3M, noticed his bookmark kept falling out of his hymn book. He realized an adhesive paper would work better. After leaving his homemade “bookmark” on a work file, he saw it could be used to communicate and organize in the workplace.