Accidental Discoveries in History: HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS

Stephanie Huesler

Household Inventions Household Inventions

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Marcel Proust

Most inventions are the results of exploration, experimentation, blood, sweat and tears, and lots of sleepless nights.  But there are some moments of serendipity, those “Hmm.  That’s strange…” discoveries that are not lightly tossed aside but seen for their potential.  It’s taking the lemons life has thrown their way, tossing in a wet rag and a few copper and zinc coins, and coming up with a battery.

Here’s a line-up of a few of those wet rag-tossers of household products:

Teflon

Who: Roy Plunkett, young chemist for DuPont.

When: 1938

Why:  He was trying to make a new kind of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the hot new thing in refrigeration science.  He filled a pressurized gas can with a concoction of TFE gas and hydrochloric acid (don’t try this…

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