A Delightful Accident
I like soft fudge. A little softer than Play-Doh is perfect.
The original maker of Play-Doh was a soap company, Kutol Products. It was used for 20 years to clean wallpaper. It’s use by children was a delightful accident.
Kay Zufall was an elementary school teacher. Her students loved Kutol’s wallpaper cleaner, but not because it cleaned wallpaper. They used it as molding clay. It was a delightful accident that Kay Zufall was the sister-in-law of Joseph McVicker.
In 1948 Joseph took over Kutol Products after his dad died. Demand for wallpaper cleaner went to the basement. The company was going under.
In 1955 Kay Zufall convinced her brother-in-law that wallpaper cleaner was a children’s toy. That’s when Kutol Products began selling Play-Doh to Elementary Schools as molding clay. Everything changed for Kutol when Play-Doh was used on the most popular children’s TV show in the US.
Captain Kangaroo began using Play-Doh at least once a week on his children’s show. Sales blew out the walls. It’s estimated more than 2 billion cans of Play-Doh have been sold. (History of Play-Doh)
A delightful accident:
My disposition toward soft fudge began with my mom. Every Christmas we ate mom’s fudge with a spoon, right out of the pan. It was so good because she cooked it wrong. The Internet says she didn’t cook it long enough.
You might think mom’s fudge was a mistake. I think it was perfect. Hardheads think accidents are failures. Instead of adapting we cling to established expectations and methods. Thankfully, most of us soften up eventually.
When things don’t turn out as expected, create new expectations. Wallpaper cleaner might be a children’s toy and fudge with a spoon might be the best. A closed mind is a dead end.
Closed minds congeal. Openness is the path to unexpected delight.
Try stuff. Ask questions. Explore possibilities.
Enjoy delightful accidents.
How can you get the most from accidents?