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In Focus

I find it interesting how some of the most common objects we use today were made by mistake...for something completely different.

The slinky for example was originally created as a tension spring to measure power on naval ships. Well, the inventor dropped it and now we have the slinky. Silly putty was meant to be a rubber replacement during World War II. Using the silicon, the inventor added boric acid. It was proven to be a terrible substitute but ended up being a rather fun, gooey yet bouncy substance.

Chemist Albert Hofmann was researching lysergic acid derivatives in a laboratory in Basel, Switzerland. He accidentally swallowed a small amount of LSD while researching its properties and had the first acid trip in history.

Speaking of drugs, there was a time before anesthesia was invented. Relieving a patient’s pain ranged from drinking alcohol to literally hitting the patent hard enough until they blacked out. Thank goodness we don’t have to do that anymore!

Enter Nitrous Oxide, aka laughing gas. This was considered a party drug. Its anesthetic use was discovered by accident when a stage performer had taken too much and accidentally cut his leg, and his dentist friend realized the actor felt no pain. The Dentist Horace Wells was credited with creating the first anesthesia but he died from a life of addiction to the drug he created. We have stoners to thank for anesthesia.

Microwaves were created, accidentally, trying to make radar equipment. Duct tape was created to keep ammunition cases dry during WWII and became useful after the war in repairing air ducts.

Chocolate chip cookies were made in a failed attempt to make chocolate cookies.

The list goes on...

But the origin of the following item left me in shock...the chain saw. This handy tool makes clearing wood and sculpting a breeze. Its origin is nowhere near close to that. It actually was created by two surgeons in the 18th century to assist in childbirth.

Yes, a chain saw’s original purpose was to cut open the birth canal should a baby get stuck during birth. And it was used! Granted, the size was that of a common household knife, which makes it a little easier to comprehend. It was used into the 19th century when a c-section became common practice. But the mental image of a doctor coming at you with what we now know as a chain saw is terrifying!

I will never look at a chain saw the same again. And now, neither will you.



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