Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
Birgit Krols states in her book, Accidental Inventions – The Chance Discoveries That Changed Our Lives, “Some ideas come naturally, many inventions are the result of serious brainwaves, most discoveries are the result of dedicated research, and then there are those resulting from a mere fluke, through laziness, absent-mindedness, or carelessness. Apparently, this happens so frequently that there is a word for it: serendipity.”
At one hundred and sixty-eight pages, this approximately eight by eight inch hardbound book makes a perfect table top conversation piece or housewarming gift as it is innocuously divided into five interesting sections that effect all of us: entertainment, food and drinks, medicine, everyday life and substances. Targeted to the person who enjoys trivial and informational facts or even fiction of how products came into being, it has many colored and black and white photographs of depicted inventions along with famous sayings by Twain, Einstein, Asimov, Rubik and other well-known people among its pages.
With a large photograph on the right side of the opened pages, Author Krols writes a quick half-page summary on how the specific item was invented or common beliefs about its history, maker, adaptions and changes on the left side of the page. From the Slinky and Frisbee to peanut butter and tea bags to Viagra and rubber gloves to matches and Teflon to TNT and dynamite, sixty items are discussed via dates, facts or fiction.
Shoe skates first rolled on the scene in 1760 at a London Ball, worn by Belgium instrument maker, Joseph Merlin. The teddy bear was name after United States President Teddy Roosevelt. John Pemberton invented a medicine for headaches called Pemberton’s French Wine Coca, which he turned into Coca-Cola in 1886. Ice cream and a waffle merged together for profit, making the ice cream cone at the World’s Fair in Saint Louis in 1904. Hebrews in 4000 B.C. presumably left dough alone briefly, allowing it to rise. In 1816, the stethoscope prototype was a pile of papers shaped into a funnel. Safety glass was inadvertently discovered in 1903 when a scientist dropped an unwashed flask. In the same year, wire coat hangers were erroneously put together when there were no empty coat hooks at work. And at age twenty one in the eighteen hundreds, William Perkin was wealthy when he patented mauveine, a synthetic dye.
The reader can learn so much in a few minutes reading a page or two about items we all use daily, wishing and hoping that he or she, by accident or not, can come up with the next discovery that will alter and change lives for the better.