Remember this when you write your next Oscar-winning screen play, something I’ll never do. I’ve got my hands full trying to finish the novels I’m silly enough to begin.
The majority of the time when I begin a novel, I start with a blank sheet of paper. I use no outline, take no notes, or in any way do preliminary work before I write the first word. I merely set in front of my blank sheet, with a loose idea and began to write. Many of my ideas come from out of the blue as I write. I guess you could say they’re not by design, but moreover by mistake. Why don’t we take a look at some of the products we use today that weren’t invented, as such, but brought to us by mistake, or even when the inventor was in search of something totally different.
How about Corning Ware? In 1957 a furnace malfunctioned allowing the temperature to rise from 600 to 900 degrees centigrade. Later the white colored glass was dropped and it didn’t break. What do you know. Overheat a furnace, drop a piece of glass and there you have it, casserole containers for life.
Good old Percy Spencer. While checking over radar equipment during World War II, he noticed a candy bar in his pocket had melted. This was caused by the magnetron he was inspecting. Testing the equipment with popcorn among other foods and enjoying success, Percy developed a similar device that gave way to, you guessed it. The microwave oven.
Now this is one of my favorites!
There seems to be as many different inventors and as many different ways, concerning the discovery of plastic, as there are fingers on our hands and toes on our feet. I’ve come to the conclusion that it was more than likely an evolutionary process. However there are some accounts that appear more than once in this sorted list of plastic’eers.
The first being: Mr. tire himself, Charles Goodyear. He combined rubber and sulfur then accidentally placed them on a stove top. Upon his return he found the material to be strong and much more durable. This process eventually became known as vulcanization.
Secondly, and I’m putting this one in just because I like it. John Wesley Hyatt spilled a bottle of collodion. Collodion is a mixture of pyroxylin (a.k.a. guncotton) ether and alcohol. Once the syrupy material hardened it became strong, flexible and on its way to being the first commercially viable plastic. No doubt plastic was a monumental discovery. We use it in practically everything. Just the weight factor alone in the products in which it is incorporated makes it an invaluable resource . Just imagine, without plastic we would lose the need to bemoan all those plastic bottles covered up in landfills.
But what really gets me about this story, is the fact that one human being had the stones to carry around a bottle full of, what amounted to a lit stick of dynamite.
After taking his dog for a walk, George De Mestral notice how well cockle burrs clung to the animals fur. Upon closer examination he noticed a series of hooks in the cockle burrs that could attach and hold firmly to his animals fur and to the loops on the material in his clothing. After testing with different shapes, sizes and materials in 1955 it was proclaimed Velcro.
Gosh! Ain’t we haven’t fun? Hold on tight. We’re going to finish with a biggie. (Pun intended)
Researchers at Pfizer were working on a new drug aimed at helping high blood pressure and a heart condition known as angina. When clinical trials begin, the drug did not work as well as expected, however when checking into the side effects they made a most unusual discovery. It was into this side effect the researchers decided to devote their attention, giving us that little blue pill, loved by millions all over the world. Viva Viagra!
Now if I could only make my novels as successful as that tiny blue progeny I could….Well you know.