Discovered by the Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming in 1928, this miracle chemical concoction was an accidental discovery. And there is a really good reason why it was an accident. The emergence of this drug completely transformed modern medicine with its anti-bacterial qualities.
While working at a hospital, Fleming left a petri dish full of Staphylococcus bacteria out while he went away. Upon his return, he found a lot of mold on the dish that had killed the surrounding bacteria. A substance that came from the mold seemed to have antibiotic properties – and thus, penicillin came to be. If it wasn’t for penicillin we would not have antibiotics.
Many inventions have strange origins - and Lysol is a prime example of this. Old-timey products were kind of strange and somehow multi-purpose too. The hygiene product Lysol which is today known as a home disinfectant and anti-bacterial substance had a slightly unusual origin story.
When first available to the American public, the product was subtly marketed as a form of birth control and health treatment for women. Thankfully times have changed and now the range of products under the Lysol name strictly deal with cleaning wounds or unclean surfaces. And when it claims to 99.9% of viruses and bacteria - that is pretty reliable.
While this was less a revolutionary invention and more of a groundbreaking rediscovery, it still did transform dental hygiene for good. Initially, Listerine was used as a floor cleaner until someone had the bright idea of swallowing it and making their mouth feel all nice and fresh. Not to mention the fact that it removed all of bits of food from the gaps in his teeth.
What resulted was thankfully not a trip to the hospital, but rather minty fresh breath. Fast forward many years later and now Listerine is the number one selling mouthwash on the market. Though there are more alcohol-free versions of Listerine these days, as medical professionals argued that alcohol was ultimately bad for gums in the long-term.
Try getting around today without WAZE or Google Maps. What did people do back in the day? Did they just memorize routes by heart and hope not to take the wrong turn? The GPS (Global Positioning System) was the first electronic navigation system that used satellite technology, and it was, needless to revolutionary. It was created in the early 60s and was used for guiding nuclear subs.
It was however only in the year 2000 that President Clinton granted nonmilitary organizations access to unscrambled GPS signals. Within a short amount of time, private companies were churning out little car-friendly devices that helped you get from A to B.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ruth Wakefield was an American chef who became best known for inventing the first chocolate chip cookie. One day she was baking her famous chocolate cookie when she ran out of cocoa powder. As a substitute, she broke up some baker's chocolate into chunks and prayed that they'd simply melt and become chocolate cookies.
They didn't. Instead, a new kind of cookie freshly emerged from the oven. Ones with delicious little chocolate chips that solidified in place. Wakefield then started a little company and called it Toll House. And these days, you can pretty much find chocolate chip cookies all over the world. And thank God you can!