The new color was discovered when scientists heated manganese oxide and a mixture of other chemicals to 2000 degree Fahrenheit. This happened back in 2009, and it wasn't until now that the rest of the world learned about the discovery. The article also discusses a few more examples of serendipity I hadn't heard of:
"The mighty Post-It Note only exists because a lab engineer at 3M failed to make a strong adhesive. The childhood wonder that is the Slinky was born after a naval engineer dropped a tension spring and watched it snake down the stairs. Even the tiny, crispy potato chip is only here because a chef messed up a simple fried potato."