Top 10 People Who Got Rich by Accident
Sometimes, the most successful and lucrative businesses were developed by sheer chance. And while each of these may have been discovered by accident, there is no doubt that each one played a degree of prominence in our society as well as made profits. Below, we are going to show you the top ten people who got filthy rich by accident.
10. Frank Epperson: Popsicle
In 1905, a boy named Frank Epperson left a mixture of water and soda powder on his porch with a stick inside of a glass. He didn’t know it at the time but this would create the first ice lollipop. However, it wasn’t until 1923 that he actually put this idea into motion. He started a lemonade stand and started selling frozen treats that were called “Eppsicles” at the time. Later it would be changed and patented by the Popsicle Corporation. By the year 1928, there were more than 60 million Popsicle sales worldwide.
9. Harry Coover: Super Glue
Almost all of us have used super glue at some point in our lives. Well if you have, you can thank American chemist Harry Coover for the discovery. The funny thing is that Coover was trying to create a clear plastic gun sight while using a chemical called “cyanoacrylate”. And after the experiment failed, he ended up with Super Glue. The idea was so popular that it resulted in two-billion in sales. Needless to say, this was one of the most profitable “accidents” of all time.
8. William Henry Perkin: Mauveine
Henry Perkin was an English chemist that stumbled upon Mauveine, the first synthetic chemical dye, when he was only 18 years old. He did so by accident when he was trying to produce a medicine for curing malaria. Quickly after, he patented the process and the year after he created a factory called Greenford Green. He began to sell his dye and it proved by be quite popular. By the end of the 1860’s, mauveine was everywhere and William was a multi-millionaire before the age of 36. He later sold his company to purchase a laboratory that would allow him to conduct further research into what provided him curiosity.
7. Roy Plunkett: Teflon
Roy Plunkett was an American researcher who in 1938, accidentally left out a sample of Freon. By the morning, it had frozen and formed into a whitish wax. But instead of taking it and dumping it in the trash, he tested it and discovered that it contained some very unusual properties. By the year 1945, his idea was trademarked and within a few years his company had earned billions. He was the director of operations for Freon until he decided to retire in 1975.
6. Leo Hendrik Baekeland: Bakelite
In 1907, a Belgian chemist Leo Baekeland invented the polymer Bakelite. For those who don’t know, this is used in kitchenware, radios, and telephones. He accidentally stumbled upon it when it was trying to create a replacement for shellac (a wood coating). Surprisingly, he came quite close. However, he heated the element in an iron pressure cooker and what came out was Bakelite. In 1910, he formed his own company and drew in millions.
5. Robert Chesebrough: Vaseline
Robert Chesebrough was only twenty-two when he was trying to establish himself in the oil industry. One day, he was down inside of an oil well and he discovered something that was referred to by workers as “rod wax”. He, along with the others, noticed how this substance could heal burns and cuts. His entrepreneurial mind immediately took over and he took it home to experiment with. After some trial and error, he was able to extract petroleum jelly that would later become the first form of Vaseline. By the 1880’s, Robert became rich as he began to sell his new found invention.
4. Joseph McVicker: Play-Doh
In 1952, a man named Joseph McVicker was working for a company called Kutol. This is when his sister-in-law approached him with a new idea. She had managed to steal some non-toxic cleaner from where she worked. He saw this as an immediate opportunity to make money. He went on to add some colorants to the dough as well as give it a pleasant scent. Soon after, he established his own company and made millions.
3. Arthur Fry: Post-It Notes
Arthur Fry was an American scientist who on a Sunday in 1973, came up with the idea for a post-in while at church. He stumbled upon an adhesive that he could use for the process but still had no way of making it commercially available. His “eureka” moment came to him when he was continued to lose his page while reading a book. He thought that if he could coat it on paper, it would be sticky enough for a better bookmark. And because of this thought, he created a product that made him rich.
2. Percy Spencer: Microwave Oven
Percy Spencer was an American engineer who was experimenting on something that could be used to detect enemy planes during World War 2. During his experimentation, he accidentally melted a candy bar in his pocket from the microwaves being transmitted from the machine. He then tested it on popcorn- then eggs. Eventually, he and other colleagues came to the realization that this could be used as a cooking product. He secured the patent for it in the 1940’s and sales took off from there.
1. George De Mestral: Velcro
Mestral was a Swiss engineer who was taking a morning walk in 1941 along the countryside. During his walk, he began to think how difficult it was to remove flowers of mountain thistle from clothing as well as his dog’s coat. He began to experiment and under a microscope, began to study the material. He learned about thistle’s adhesive properties and using his scientific background, quickly transformed this into a product. By the late 1950’s, he began to sell Velcro and by the 1970’s, sales took off.