Miscellany and Trivia

Anecdotes about accidental discoveries that changed the world – Two

 

MTr 3

Saccharin

Inventors:  Constantin Fahlberg and Ira Remsen

Year: 1879

What Happened: After spending the day studying coal tar derivatives, Fahlberg left his Johns Hopkins laboratory and went to dinner.

Big Discovery: Something he ate tasted particularly sweet, which he traced to a chemical compound he’d spilled on his hand. Best of all, it turned out to be calorie-free.

As a Result: He cut Remsen and the university out of millions of dollars when he secretly patented the breakthrough discovery, saccharin.

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