There is no cooler job than being inventor. Can you imagine being the mind behind the next answer to the internet or mobile phones? You’d be considered rich, famous AND cool.
Unfortunately, being an inventor isn’t as glamorous as you might think. Indeed, did you know there are a lot of inventions that killed their creator? Perhaps that office job doesn’t look so bad now…
Michael Dacre invented a plane that would act as an air taxi, his vision being that it would offer affordable and fast travel between regional cities. Unfortunately for Dacre, while testing the aircraft in Malaysia, the plane crashed to the ground causing an explosion that killed the inventor.
Franz Reichelt was a French tailor and pioneer in the development of the parachute. Reichelt became fixated on the idea that he could combine the science of a parachute with a type of outfit that would allow a person to survive if they had to leave their aircraft.
Reichelt decided to test the outfit by jumping from the Eiffel Tower wearing it – he had promised authorities that he would use a dummy. He fell to his death.
The dangers of radiation were not known at the time Marie Curie discovered how to isolate radium after she discovered polonium and radium. She died from aplastic anemia, which is a disease that affects the blood and is caused by long term exposure to radiation.
The irony of inventing a brutal torture device and then being subjected to it yourself was the cruel fate of Li Si. The Five Pains method of torture was incredibly brutal. First a victim’s forehead was branded, their nose cut off, then their feet were cut off before the victim was castrated and then executed. He must have regretted that invention…
Cowper Phipps Coles
An extinguished Royal Navy Captain, Cowper Phipps Coles was an English inventor born in 1819. Most famous for inventing a swinging ship turret that was primarily used in the Crimean war, Coles also added many dangerous adaptions to the ship that killed him. The ship capsized killing Coles and 500 other crew on-board.
Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier
Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier was one of the first pioneers of aviation. His dream was to cross the English channel, so he developed the Rozier balloon, which was a mix between a hydrogen balloon and a hot air balloon. On 15 June 1785 the balloon took off, but sadly deflated unexpectedly and fell from 1,500ft with both Rozier and his companion dying.
Thomas Andrews Jr
Thomas Andrews Jr was the chief naval architect on the HMS Titanic. He was onboard when the Titanic made its tragic maiden voyage in 1912. He was one of the 1500 people who died when the ship sunk.
William Nelson was an inventor and engineer born in America 1879. Nelson was particularly proficient with bikes and in 1903 he invented a a motorised bike. Sadly while testing his prototype it crashed causing him fatal injuries.
An incredible rocket inventor, Max Valier was known for creating a rocket-powered car that proved successful on its test runs. However in 1930, while working on a alcohol-based rocket, the rocket exploded killing the inventor.
William Bullock revolutionised the method of printing press with his improvements to the Hoe’s rotary press machine. This machine allowed the press to be printed much more efficiently and quicker than before. Years later, while fixing one of his machines, he accidentally kicked the machine into action. His leg was crushed and he died from gangrene.
Alexander Bogdanov was a Russian science fiction writer that was obsessed with immortality. He started experimenting with blood transfusions, which he believed would make him younger and cure diseases. He died after he swapped blood with a person suffering from tuberculosis and malaria – the other person made a full recovery.
Karel Soucek was a Canadian stuntman famed for his invention of a shock absorbent barrel. He would go in this barrel and fall off the side and fall over the sides of the Niagra Falls. In 1985 Soucek tried another stunt where he would fall 180ft into a water tank. The stunt went wrong as the barrel was meant to fall straight into the water but instead ricocheted off the side causing fatal injuries to Soucek.
Thomas Midgley Jr
An American chemist and engineer, Thomas Midgley Jr was known for his work with dangerous substances and the lengths he would go to prove his theories. At the age of 51 he contracted Polio. To get out of bed he invested a complicated rope pulley system, however it was this that killed him as he became strangled in it.
Perillos of Athens
Another inventor of a torture device who fell victim to his own evil creation. Perillos of Athens built a hollow bull that a prisoner could be put in and a fire lit below it. This would cause a slow and agonising death for the person inside in the bull. It is said that Perillos took his invention to Phalaris, the tyrant of Akragas. Unfortunately Phalaris wanted the device tested on Perillos himself.
Sylvester H. Roper
Sylvester H. Roper was a pioneer in the development of both bikes and automobiles. During a speed trial in 1896 Roper died of a heart attack, it is not known whether the crash led to his heart attack or whether he had a heart attack which led to him crashing.
Valerian Abakovsky was a famous Russian inventor born in 1895. His most famous design was also the cause of his demise. He invented the Aerowagon, which was train that was fitted with an aircraft engine and a propeller. The train worked perfectly from Moscow to Tula, however on the return journey the train derailed at high speed killing everyone on-board.
Born in 1933, Henry Smolinski was an engineer determined to develop a flying car. He managed to fuse together a Ford Pinto with a small plane in 1978 but on the test flight the invention crashed killing both Smolinski and his co-pilot.