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10 Accidental Inventions You Won't Believe

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In an era of constant innovation and discovery, we may not realize that most inventions take years -- even decades -- to develop. Although some breakthroughs take a lifetime of dedication, the curious mind needn't worry.

As history shows us, people have crafted new inventions and stumbled upon discoveries by accident. To agree with Nobel prize-winning biochemist Albert Szent-Györgyi: "A discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind" [source: Szent-Györgyi].

And a prepared mind is usually what it takes. As we learn about 10 accidental inventions and discoveries, remember that some were serendipitous, meaning they were stumbled upon by chance, whereas others occurred while the inventors were trying to discover something else. Take the Slinky, Silly Putty and Play-Doh, for instance. The inventors of these childhood amusements discovered them by chance while trying to discover or invent other things. Such accidental discoveries aren't that rare, actually.

In this article, we'll focus on some of the more unusual accidental discoveries, or ones that will leave you scratching your head in disbelief. These stories show that sometimes it takes a bit of luck to discover the next big thing.

So which inventions and discoveries happened by accident? Read on to learn more.