A long time ago when I was very young I had one of those 101 electronics project kits. I might have been a little too young at the time because I couldn't quite grasp the purpose of most of the components and made many mistakes. One of those mistakes I made was something amazing that I couldn't grasp at the time. It was the invention of the LED flashlight.
The LED wasn't a new thing, there were colored LED's on the kit and commonplace everywhere in electronics at the time. The purpose of the LED however was to be a simple light to provide a visual cue that something was happening. An on/off light if you will. Very dim and not intended to provide actual illumination.
I was randomly hooking up components on my kit one day and accidentally hooked direct current through a common diode. The overload caused an intense and blinding white light. I tapped the connection a few times and was blown away by how bright it was. Sadly I think I had pushed a full twelve volts through the diode and burned it out. I thought I had ruined the kit and put it away regretfully.
It was many years later that the LED flashlight came out. A simple clear diode hooked to direct current. The exact same setup I had accidentally created when I was a kid. Now it's difficult to find a flashlight that isn't LED. This technology has revolutionized the industry and if I had been a little more aware at the time I could have had the first patent on it. Imagine that.
So that's my story on how I once invented the LED flashlight but didn't know it. The moral of this story is to never overlook the results of an accident. Penicillin and Dove soap were both accidents. I could have joined that group of accidental inventors.