Unlike Harry Coover Jr., in 1968, scientist Dr. Spencer Silver was looking to develop an ultra-strong adhesive for 3M (formerly the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company). But the chemistry ace ended up inventing a low-tack, reusable pressure-sensitive glue instead. Silver struggled to promote the adhesive and find a suitable application until 1974, when his 3M colleague Art Fry suggested it could be used to create stickable, reusable bookmarks.
In 1975, Shashikant Phadnis, a young Indian graduate student at Queen Elizabeth College (now part of King's College London), was researching compounds that could be used as insecticides. Phadnis and his tutor Leslie Hough were particularly interested in a compound they synthesised by adding toxic sulfuryl chloride to sugar.
Fahlberg began production of the new sugar substitute in Germany from 1886 and made a fortune from it, becoming a very rich man in his time, even though zero-calorie saccharin didn't achieve global popularity until the 1960s and 1970s, when it became the go-to sweetener for dieters worldwide. Read more: Incredible inventions that never took off