A case where science moved by fits and starts rather than reasoned logic. The invention of Gore-Tex, capable of repelling water and stretching as needed.
From “Transmutations”, Fall 2013, newsletter of the Chemical Heritage Foundation using a quote from Robert Gore’s book The Early Days of W. L. Gore and Associates.
“One night in late October , I set the lab oven to high temperatures, just below the PTFE melt point. At this high temperature, I was having very poor luck with my stretching experiments. I was stretching the beading very carefully, and I was getting results that were only 10 percent stretch, or even less, before they would break. I was really frustrated. I was being so carefully, and I actually said to the next sample, ‘Well, if you won’t stretch carefully, I’m going to give you a yank.’ And I took it out of the oven, I gave it a vicious yank, and the thing stretched the full length of my two outstretched arms, about ten times its original length!”
Note: PTFE is the chemical acronym for Teflon.
Picture Bob Gore stretching a thread of Teflon from Science History Institute / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)
A few other examples of creativity in science