Top 10 People Who Got Rich by Accident



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.

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