In the second part in our continuing series on accidental miracles we take a look at some more great inventions that owe their discovery to chance, and whose serendipitous invention has had a significant impact on our lives.
Whilst trying to find a means of stabilising and transporting the explosive liquid nitro-glycerine, Swedish chemist and engineer Alfred Nobel noticed that one of the cans of this highly volatile substance had leaked. After recovering from the initial shock of having not been blown up by this dangerous and highly explosive substance, Nobel realized he owed his good fortune to the sawdust on the ground, which had absorbed the liquid. It was this light bulb moment that led Nobel to the discovery that this substance could be stabilized by mixing it with an inert substance, allowing him to produce dynamite on a grand scale.
It’s hard to imagine a world without microwaves, and these handy appliances have been a staple in people’s homes for decades. Interestingly this life-changing invention also owes its discovery to a happy accident. The microwave was invented by the engineer Percy Spencer, who was experimenting with a microwave-emitting magnetron when he felt a peculiar sensation, only to discover that a chocolate bar stashed in his pocked had begun to melt. Inspired by this, Spencer began to investigate the heating effects of microwaves, and started experimenting with other foods such as popcorn kernels, creating the world’s first microwave popcorn. Realising the potential of this technology to heat food faster than conventional ovens, Spencer went on to create what is considered the world’s first microwave oven
Back in 1943 Navy engineer Richard James was researching how springs could be used in the development of a meter designed to measure the horsepower output on ships. This device required the use of specially-designed springs in order to keep the instrument stable during rough sea voyages. The story goes that James accidentally knocked one of these springs onto the floor, and to his amazement the spring immediately righted itself, landing upright on the floor. This provided all the inspiration he needed to create the iconic children’s toy, the slinky, and the rest is history.
Here at Airedale Springs we are leading spring manufacturers and appreciate how when it comes to great design and innovation, sometimes inspiration can be found in even the most unexpected of places. For more information about our range of products and services please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you with your enquiries.