Accidental Inventions That Changed The World Forever

By: Kate Row | Last updated: Oct 21, 2022

The world is filled with happy little accidents. Some of your favorite things might not have been created on purpose. Or, they were created with a different purpose in mind. Artists, inventors, scientists, and chefs can all attest to making creations that they hadn’t quite intended to make.

Experimentation is part of the process and sometimes things are born by complete accident. In any case, check out how some of your favorite things were created. Their origin stories might surprise you.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

These fan favorites might never have come to be if it weren’t for a lack of chocolate. A baker, Ruth Wakefield, ran out of chocolate while trying to make cookies. She broke the sweetened chocolate into small pieces and threw them in the dough.


Butternut Bakery

These were the very first chocolate chips. She figured they would melt into the dough, making regular chocolate cookies. But they stayed firm and we now have delicious chocolate chip cookies that we enjoy today!


Jason Voorhees’ Hockey Mask

Jason Vorhees is one of the most famous horror movie characters of all time. In the Friday the 13th films, he wears a ski mask to disguise his face. This was actually to save the film makeup team time. It’s much faster to throw a mask on than it is to sit in the makeup chair for hours!


Screen Geek

The ski mask has become one of the most recognizable horror movie faces! Thousands of kids have dressed up as Jason for Halloween. Who would have thought a ski mask could be so scary?


Nachos were another happy little accident in the kitchen. The maître d’ at a restaurant in Mexico had to quickly whip something up for 10 military wives who had crossed the border from an Army base.


Entertaining Diva

He quickly added tostadas and grated cheese to a plate and heated it up. The first ever plate of nachos was born. To think, we wouldn’t have crispy, cheesy nachos if not for a quick improvisation. Next time you’re enjoying nachos at a ballgame, thank Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya for his creation.

The Hulk

Marvel fans know The Hulk for his unmistakable green skin, anger issues, and enormous muscles. The Hulk was actually supposed to be gray! Can you imagine? We’re not sure a gray Hulk would be nearly as exciting to watch on-screen.


A Place to Hang Your Cape

Luckily, Marvel’s printers actually malfunctioned, resulting in the green Hulk we all know and love. If not for this happy accident, we’re not sure The Hulk would be the famous Avengers character he is today.

Waffle Cones

Waffle Cones were born out of necessity. Two vendors were next to each other at a World’s Fair: One selling ice cream and one selling waffle-like pastries. When the ice cream vendor ran out of cups he had to think fast.

Source: stress baking

Thus, the use of waffle pastries as ice cream cups was born. It feels a little like fate that these vendors would be next to each other and come together to create this iconic sugary snack.



When a young chef burned a burger, he needed a way to hide the charred spots. Easiest solution? Slap a piece of cheese right on top. Now, you have a fairly delicious cover job.

Eater San Diego

Apparently, when the chef served the cheese burger to a customer, they were delighted. Like many of our favorite dishes, the cheeseburger’s inception was nothing but an accident.



We all have an 11-year-old boy to thank for this summer treat. Little Frank Epperson was trying to make his own soda by stirring a cup of powdered soda with a stirring stick. When he left it outside overnight, it froze.


11-year-old Frank originally called the creation the “Eppsicle” but children dubbed it the “popsicle” that we know today. Quite an accomplishment for a preteen boy!



Amazingly, scientific discoveries can happen by accident as well. Sir Alexander Fleming was attempting to make a kind of “wonder drug” that would cure many diseases. He actually threw his experiments away when he felt like they weren’t working.

Live Science

He later noticed that one of the petri dishes he had thrown out had a mold that was eliminating bacteria around it. Through this experiment, he discovered penicillin which is used to treat many bacterial infections today.


Potato Chips

Potato chips were accidentally created to please a grumpy customer. A customer at a restaurant in Saratoga Springs kept sending his plate back, requesting that his potatoes be thinner and more fried.

Source: beyond the chicken coop

The chef was losing his patience with the picky customer and cut the potatoes unreasonably thin and cooked them until they were hard. Surprisingly, the customer was thrilled and so the potato chip was born.


Post-it Notes

Spencer Silver was attempting to create an extremely strong adhesive, but ended up making something much weaker. He couldn’t seem to find a reasonable use for this adhesive because other adhesives at the time were stronger than his creation.

Source: forge-medium

Years after its invention Spencer’s colleague spread the adhesive on small pieces of paper as a bookmark. Post-it notes were born from there. Now, many of us use this accidental invention to write down notes and reminders.



We all have a French monk named Dom Pierre Perignon to thank for our bottles of bubbly. The monks of Champagne had access to all the best grapes, but in the winter months, the wine fermentation process would freeze. When it warmed up in the spring, the wine would have carbonation.


Dom Pierre Perignon was tasked with fixing this problem until people decided they actually liked the bubbles. He was then asked to make the wine even more carbonated, creating the champagne we know today.


Play Doh

It’s crazy to think that one of the most popular children’s toys of all time almost didn’t exist. This moldable clay was originally supposed to be a wall cleaner, but it didn’t work all that well. Parents started letting their kids play with it to mold little creations.

I Heart Naptime

Add some different colors and molds and kids were easily sold on the product. Soon enough, it was a children’s toy empire! While their walls weren’t cleaned effectively, at least parents found something to keep their kids entertained!



Richard Jones was a naval engineer who set out to make tension springs for battle ships. What he ended up with was perhaps less important, but a lot more fun. Have you ever tried sending a slinky down the stairs?

Vintage Everyday

When a spring fell to the floor, he noticed the way it flopped around, the way we have all seen slinkies do. Kids got a new toy and Richard Jones made a lot of money, just not in the way he had intended.


Match Sticks

In 1826, John Walker experienced a lucky accident that resulted in the birth of the match stick, something we all still use today. He was a chemist and pharmacist who was simply using a wooden stick to stir some chemicals.


When he tried to scrape off the lump at the end of his stirring stick, it sparked a flame. He was then met with the genius idea to build upon the stick and created the first ever friction match. Next time you light a candle at home or a fire when you’re camping, be sure to give John a thank you!