Missing out on a fortune

What if one of the mistakes you did turned out to be an invention? It happened with products like Post-it when Spencer Silver, a researcher in 3M Laboratories was trying to make a strong adhesive. While working away, Silver created an adhesive that was actually weaker than what already existed. It stuck to objects but could be pulled off easily without leaving a mark. Years later a colleague spread the substance on little pieces of paper to mark his place in his choir hymn book, and the idea was born. Well here’s another one.

Chocolate chip cookies are a favorite treat for people of all ages, but without the famous woman inventor Ruth Wakefield, the world might never have tasted those sweet delights. Born in 1905, Wakefield grew up to be a dietician and food lecturer after graduating from the Framingham State Normal School Department of Household Arts in 1924. Along with her husband Kenneth, she bought a tourist lodge named the Toll House Inn, where she prepared the recipes for meals that were served to guests.

In 1930, Wakefield was mixing a batch of cookies for her roadside inn guests when she discovered that she was out of baker’s chocolate. She substituted broken pieces of Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate, expecting it to melt and absorb into the dough to create chocolate cookies. That didn’t happen, but the surprising result helped to make Ruth Wakefield one of the 20th century’s most famous women inventors. When she removed the pan from the oven, Wakefield realized that she had accidentally invented “chocolate chip cookies.”

At the time, she called her creations “Toll House Crunch Cookies.” They became extremely popular locally, and the recipe was soon published in a Boston newspaper. As the popularity of the Toll House Crunch Cookie increased, the sales of Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate bars also spiked. Andrew Nestle and Ruth Wakefield decided to come up with an agreement. Nestle would print the Toll House Cookie recipe on its package, and Wakefield would be given a lifetime supply of Nestle chocolate. Due to this unexpected discovery by a famous woman inventor, the chocolate chip cookie became the most popular variety of cookie in America, a distinction it still holds to this day.

What if she would had patented it and sold it on her own. Well it would had been a different ball game altogether. But that’s the story and a win for Nestle.

What do you think? Did she make a wise agreement?

Happy Chocolating

Amit Jadhav

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