Necessity is the mother of invention they say. The reason we have so many things that helped to our lives easy is because we needed them. So what happens when you didn’t think you needed something until you got it and then you realize it’s vital to your existence.
The world’s first antibiotic which has prevented millions of deaths and cured infections and diseases, was the accidental discovery of a messy workspace.
Alexander Fleming, a bacteriologist in London had returned from a vacation in 1928 to find mold in one of the Petri dishes in his lab. On a closer look, he saw that area around the mold was free of bacteria.
He named the bacteria killing mold juice Penicillin after the fungus species, Penicillium notatum.
He published a paper about his discovery in 1929 and it wasn’t until a decade later that chemists at Oxford University read his paper and turned Penicillin into viable medicine.
It was first tested on a patient in 1940 and began to be used in 1942. Today it is the most commonly used antibiotic in the world. So everybody say thank you Alexander Fleming for leaving his office dirty and inventing useful medicine. Reminds me of that omo advert with the tagline “dirt is good” .
Invented by Swedish Physicist Alfred Nobel , it was a discovery it’s inventor wasn’t too happy about. Made of nitroglycerin, he intended for it to be used for construction and for the benefit of mankind but his explosives made it easier to kill people in war and conflict.
He didn’t like wars and wasn’t happy that his invention was used to push wars so he decided to leave his wealth to foster science, literature and peace and that’s why he we have The Nobel Prizes that recognizes these fields today.
Do you know the very first Coca Cola had cocaine in it?
In 1866, John Pemberton an American Pharmacist was trying to create a painkiller. He had been seriously injured in the civil war and needed to help with the pain.
His first product was Pemberton’s French wine coca and contained alcohol with leaves from the cocaine containing coca plant and kolanuts which have caffeine.
It was popular but he had to develop an alcohol free alternative for his home state of Georgia . He replaced wine with sugar syrup and while experimenting with the formula he accidentally mixed it with carbonated water.
He loved the taste and decided to market it as a fountain drink instead of medicine naming it Coca Cola after its original ingredients.
Unfortunately he didn’t live long enough to enjoy the success of his invention and died in poverty two years after his invention.
His business partner Asa Griggs Candler whom he had sold his shares to turned Coca Cola into one of the most successful companies in the country.
I think it’s sad that John Pemberton didn’t reap the benefits of his invention and centuries later we are still drinking his invention.
Before the invention of matches, starting a fire was tedious until British Pharmacist John Walker accidentally scraped a coated stick across his fireplace while experimenting with chemicals. The stick burst into flames, giving Walker an idea to make more coated sticks. In 1827, he began selling matches he called Congreves at his pharmacy, named in honor of a type of rocket.
His congreves were cardboard sticks coated in a mixture of potassium chlorate and antimony sulfide, gosh I’m saying many science words today. Anyways, this mixture would light up when struck against a piece of sandpaper.
Even though it was popular, he never patented it and so many people copied his designs and sold their own versions, it wasn’t until after many years after he died in 1859 that he was acknowledged as the creator of the first friction match.
I know a lot of us love the potato chips but have you ever thought about who had the brilliant idea to cut them into really thin slices that are crispy, salty and savory?
Well, thanks to a New York restaurant customer complaining about the fried potatoes he had been served describing them as soggy and thick, Chef George Crum got so upset he cut the potatoes into really thin slices, fried them and sprinkled on some salt, that’s how the potato chips was born.
I guess there’s some truth to the statement “ the customer is always right” because the potato chips is now one of the world’s most popular snacks.
In 1895, German scientist Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen was trying to create lightbulbs by experimenting with cathode-Ray tubes. But he noticed that when they were placed inside a cardboard box, they continued to emit light even though the cardboard should have stopped it.
He also noticed that they were not just emitting light but were also passing invisible rays that could penetrate solid matter. Soon after this it was experimented on humans, it proved successful and the x-ray was born in the medical field.
Thanks to so many of these inventions, we don’t even give much thought to how our lives have been made easier. I can’t imagine how people were living before these things were invented, it must’ve been hell.