Bad Dog Needs Rotten Home



Added on: 6th Mar 2016



sweet n low packet

One of the grosser starts to an accidental invention, Saccharin –

commonly seen today in the pink Sweet n’ Low packets – was

first produced by Constantine Fahlberg, a John’s Hopkins

University researcher. Trying to find new uses for coal tar,

Fahlberg found his wife’s biscuits much sweeter than normal one

evening in 1879. Rushing to figure out what caused it,

Fahlberg found remnants from his lab tests – namely,

saccharin – on his hands.




wheaties boxes

Bran gruel just sounds disgusting. Typically a peasant food

(and asked for “more” of by Oliver Twist), gruel is a cereal

grain boiled in water or milk which sustained many a Westerner

over the past few hundred years. A Washburn Crosby Company

cook was preparing some when part of the mixture fell onto

the hot stove and sizzled. Trying the cracked flakes, he found

the result much more appetizing and Wheaties was born.

The company debated what to call the cereal. First named

Washburn’s Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flakes (and nearly

Nukeys), an employee contest ultimately resulted in the

final name of Wheaties.




corn flakes in bowl

The by-product of breakfast entrepreneur brothers John and

Will Kellogg, corn flakes had a less-than-appetizing beginning.

While boiling grains to make granola, the brothers forgot a pot

on the stove for a few days in 1898. Upon returning – besides a

mouldy mess – they found a thick, dry mixture. Some experiments

later, the mould was taken out of the equation and the first

corn flakes were eaten.





Post-Industrial Revolution, the world was charging full-steam

ahead. In the late 1800’s, German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen

was experimenting with cathode-ray tubes. Similar to a

fluorescent light-bulb, the tubes are glass tubes in which air is

vacuumed out and a gas is added in. Adding electricity, the tube

would glow. After surrounding the tube with black cardboard,

Röntgen was surprised that a nearby chemical also glowed since

all light was supposed to be kept within the cardboard. Soon

testing the invisible rays on his wife’s hand, he realized they

could pass through flesh, wood, and a variety of substances.

Unsure of what was happening, he called his accidental

invention X-rays – the X meaning “unknown”.





Alfred Nobel, namesake of the Nobel Peace Prize, successfully

created dynamite after an accidental explosion in his own

laboratory which killed his younger brother and a few others.

A chemist by trade, he (and the others) were working to find

ways to stabilize the highly-volatile liquid nitro-glycerine.

When transporting some of the liquid one day, the can broke

open but a big explosion didn’t follow; kieselguhr, a sedimentary

rock mixture in which the cans were packed, absorbed the

liquid without hampering its explosive power. He continued

researching and soon created what we know today as dynamite.




post it notes in a corridor

The company 3M is known for its high levels of innovation

throughout the years; the year 1968 was no exception.

Researchers Spencer Silver and Art Fry developed a soft

adhesive but couldn’t find a use for it. While practicing hymns

with his church choir, Fry found his place marking papers kept

falling out and remembered their old idea from years earlier. #

Twelve years after its original discovery, 3M launched

Post-It Notes in 1980.





Anyone who has undergone a surgery will be thankful to the

pain-easing effects of anaesthesia. Four men – Crawford Long,

William Morton, Charles Jackson, and Horace Wells – all

realized, rather independently, the useful effects of ether

and nitrous oxide. In the 1800’s, parties where guests would

consume such vapours were all the rage. These

“laughing parties” or “ether frolics” were the acid parties

of their day. A notable event for Horace Wells happened in

1844 when a man at the party injured his leg and was bleeding

but reported feeling no pain. Wells soon removed his own tooth

under the gas’s influences and found its immense value

during painful medical procedures.




scientist with beaker

Another example of a toy emerging from war-time production,

Silly Putty was designed by James Wright of General Electric.

Wright was testing silicon oil during World War II to make a

substitute for rubber which was highly in demand by the

military for airplane tyres, soldiers’ boots, and more. After

adding boric acid to some silicon oil in 1943, Wright was left

with a bouncy, gooey, gelatinous mess. Not useful for any

military application, Silly Putty was only really useful as a

gooey kid’s toy.


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