A recent PBS show on the challenges of the first trans-Atlantic telegraph cable contained a historical factoid that shows how long it can take good ideas to germinate.
One challenge was having a boat large enough to carry such a huge coil of cable that would span the thousands of miles from the Irish coast to Newfoundland in Canada. After a massive ship, the Great Eastern, failed as a British tourist vessel designed for luxury travel to Australia, it was chartered 'for 2 percent of its construction cost' to unspool the trans-Atlantic cable in 1865.
Now for the payoff: The ship was the largest in the world -- six times larger than any rival -- when initially built and had a double-hull construction that would be "rediscovered" a century later as a way to make ships safer against hull damage (from, say, icebergs. . . .) and to make oil tankers more secure against leaks.
Talk about your lemons into lemonades.