Now days most inventions entail sitting in front of a computer in a safe office. Back in the days, however, the stakes were higher. Sometimes things went horribly wrong. here are a few of the most infamous stories.
Francis Edgar Stanley
The world’s first female Nobel Prize winners (and double at that), Marie Curie, invented the process for isolating radium. According to some sources, she died because of the many years of exposure to radioactivity. She suffered from the rare blood disorder aplastic anemia, a disease that occurs when stem cells in the bone marrow is damaged and the production of new cells in the blood decreases. in 1934, she died of the disease.
The American inventor William Bullock’s enhancements to the printing press impacted the printing industry immensely. His invention lead to higher efficiency and faster presses. One day in April 1867 he was making some small adjustments to a new machine in Philadelphia when he got his foot caught in it. He got gangrene from his injuries and died while having his foot amputated.
Titanic’s maiden voyage notoriously did not go entirely according to plan. Someone who experienced that up close was its designer Thomas Andrews. During the trip to New York, Andrews made notes about the improvements that the ship would need. When it subsequently collided with the iceberg, he felt the collision from his cabin and was able to, after a few quick calculations, inform the captain that the Titanic would sink within two hours. According to witnesses he was active in the rescue work and helped people to the rescue boats, but he did not go himself. Witnesses have said that they had seen him sitting in the smoking room in first class and wait for the death of both himself and his ship. Talk about standing up for your decisions and convictions.
Ave Mizar is not one of the best known inventions. The flying car, based on a Ford Pinto, was tested by inventor Henry Smolinski and his partner Harold Blakein in September 1973 when the accident happened. According to reports, at least one of the wings fell off the car and caused a massive crash that killed both Smolinski and Blake instantly. Apparently Gaffatape was not well known at the time.
Otto Lilienthal is considered one of Germany’s most influential aviation pioneers. He scored over 2000 successful gliding flights during the 1800 ‘s before one of his experiments in 1896 went horribly wrong when the plane disintegrated. Otto plunged from around 15 meters height, damaged his skull and had multiple fractures to his back. After the incident he fell into a coma and later died. His last words is said to have been “sacrifices must be made“. They made real men back then.
The Austrian tailor Franz Reichelt began development of a “parachute suit” in 1910 which he hoped would be bot practical and efficient. In February 1912, he announced that he would carry out the first test of the suit by jumping from the Eiffel Tower. The police thought that he meant that a doll would be cast from the first ledge at 60 meters, but instead it was Reichelt himself who made the jump. It failed miserably and the Austrian inventor pancaked and died.
Valerian Abakovski is one of the creators behind the Aerowagon, a high speed rail car with a jet engine and propellers, which were supposed to transport Russian politicians. During a test ride to Moscow in 1921 the rail car derailed at high speed and seven people who were on board, including 25 years young Abakovski, died. He and the others were later buried in the red square in Moscow.
One of the most famous myths this topic is that the creator of the segway died while traveling on in his invention. However, it is not true. The British James Heselden bought the company that manufactured Segways. It was he who drove off a cliff while he was driving his Segway, he later died from his injuries. The inventor of the original Segway is, Dean Kamen, and he is still alive as far as we know.