Happy Accidents that Changed the World

An accident is something that happens by chance, however there are times when you don’t want to leave an important outcome to fate. If you choose a solicitor whom you feel treats you unfairly or has been negligent, SOS Claims are there to help remedy the wrong. There are times when destiny gets it right. Here are happy accidents that changed the world.


  1. Penicillin

Antibiotics are something we take for granted, however they have only been available for 80 years. Before that, an infected cut could kill, and diseases like scarlet fever were rife. While searching for a cure to the influenza virus (which killed up to 40 million people in the epidemic of 1918-19), Dr Alexander Fleming noticed fungus growing on a bacterial culture he’d left while on holiday. Rather than simply throwing it away (mould, yuck!), he realised the fungus was killing the staphylococcus bacteria in his dish. Et voila: penicillin, and a Nobel Prize in 1945.

  1. Post-Its

Imagine how many important things would be forgotten if not for the invention of Post-It notes. 3M employeeSpencer Silver created a low-tack glue in 1968, but in a company of sticky substances, what use was a not-so-sticky one? It wasn’t until 1980 that his colleague, Art Fry, decided to try it on some temporary notes he needed to stick some books that this wonder product was born.

  1. Viagra

Viagra’s ability to help men maintain an erection was actually a side-effect of a product created to treat angina. Pfizer’s little blue pill not only makes millions of men and their partners happy, it’s delighted Pfizer’s shareholders by making billions of dollars for the company since its release in 1998.

  1. Velcro

The satisfying “rip” sound of Velcro on shoes has delighted children for decades, yet the hook-and-loop fastener was only discovered after a Swiss scientist, George de Mestral was pulling burrs out of his dog’s fur after a walk. Being the inquisitive man he was, he studied a burr under a microscope to work out what made it stick in such an annoying, but effective way. “Velcro” is a hybrid of the worlds “velvet” and “crochet”.

  1. Mauve

More commonly associated with grannies, mauve was once cutting edge in artificial dye. It was discovered when William Perkins, an 18-year old searching for a way to create quinine used to treat malaria, created a stunning purple fabric dye which could be used instead of expensive plant dyes for fabric. He was a millionaire within five years, but synthetic quinine wasn’t created until 1944.

  1. Slinky

The metallic stair climbing toy known as Slinky was invented by a World War II engineer searching for a way to use springs to keep instruments steady on navy ships. Richard James discovered the spring automatically righted itself when dropped on the ground, and thus the Slinky was born.

So the next time something goes wrong for you, console yourself with the knowledge that not all mistakes are bad.