Inventors Killed By Their Own Inventions | 2018-04-12 |


Inventors Killed By Their Own Inventions

Magazine Desk     12 April, 2018 12:00 AM printer

Inventors Killed 
By Their Own Inventions

Since the beginning of human consciousness, we have been inventing things all the way. All the things came into existence because of their necessity. Unsurprisingly, it is the inventor who is often the early tester of those inventions. And some of those inventions pose deadly risks. There’s something ingrained in humans that cause us to take dangerous risks and try things that might change the world. Over the course of civilization, thousands of inventions succeeded beyond their creator’s wildest dream. But some were epic fails. These people made contributions to the humankind, but they would have never thought that their own creation would be held accountable for their last breath. Death is inevitable for us, but it is sad that these inventors died because of their own inventions. Here is a short list of brilliant engineers and scientists who became victims to their own ideas.


Marie Curie

Popularly known as Madame Curie, she was first of the four scientists who got Nobel Prize twice. For her work, she was awarded the Nobel Prizes in Physics and Chemistry. She remains the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences. The renowned physicist and chemist of Polish origin had exposure to ionizing radiations for a prolonged time as her experiments involved materials like radium which exhibits radioactive properties. Back then, the harmful effects of the radioactive emissions were not known. Curie was diagnosed with aplastic anemia which was the cause of her death. Even her personal possessions were exposed to the radiations as she carried radium in her pockets and kept in her drawer. She died of leukemia in 1934.


Otto Lilienthal

The man who inspired the Wright Brothers — Otto Lilienthal — was the first person to take safe and replicable gliding flights. Before Lilienthal's successes, flying was considered to be an impossibility reserved for dreamers and fools. He was the first person to make repeated successful gliding flights. On August 10, 1896, Lilienthal experimented with “shifting weight” in a glider at fifty feet. It lost lift, stalled, and he augered into the ground, breaking his neck and spine. He died the next day. While he was lying in the hospital, his last words were "Opfer müssen gebracht werden!", meaning, “Small sacrifices must be made!”



William Bullock

William Bullock was an American inventor whose 1863 invention of the rotary printing press helped revolutionize the printing industry due to its great speed and efficiency. In a bizarre accident, Bullock was killed by his own invention. On April 3, 1867 he was making adjustments to one of his new presses that was being installed for the Philadelphia Public Ledger newspaper. Bullock tried to kick a driving belt onto a pulley. His leg was crushed when it became caught in the machine. After a few days, he developed gangrene. On April 12, 1867, Bullock died during an operation to amputate the leg. He is buried in Union Dale Cemetery on Pittsburgh’s North Side.


Alexander Bogdanov

Alexander Bogdanov was a Russian physician, writer, politician, and a part-time inventor. He was jailed in the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution for his opposition to Vladimir Lenin. He somehow talked his way out of death row and back into medicine where he became obsessed with blood. He invented an original philosophy called “tectology,” now regarded as a forerunner of systems theory. Continuing with his research on blood, Bogdanov founded the ‘Institute For Haematology’ and was convinced that blood transfusion was the ultimate medicine to human ailments. To back up his beliefs, he used himself as a crash-test dummy and transfused blood from a patient suffering malaria and tuberculosis into his own system. He died two days later on April 07, 1928, but the patient slowly got better.


Horace Lawson Hunley

Horace Lawson Hunley invented the submarine. He developed early hand-powered submarines, the most famous of which was posthumously named for him, H. L. Hunley. His first prototype trapped seven sailors underwater and killed them all. Hunley went back to the drawing board and came up with a new and improved sub, aptly named the H.L. Hunley, which he skippered himself. On October 15, 1863, Hunley was testing the Hunley off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, when it failed to surface and again killed the crew — including Hunley himself.


Max Valier

Valier was one of the earliest humans to foresee potential in the rockets. He founded the German Verein für Raumschiffahrt (Spaceflight Society) which people could regard as an initial motivation to 20th-century space trips like the Apollo Moon Mission which is believed to be faked by NASA. Valier created rocket-powered cars between 1928 and 1929 with Fritz von Opel. The spaceflight society focused on the idea of liquid-fuelled rocket vehicles. Valier also tested one liquid propulsion-based rocket car. In 1930, Valier died at the age of 35 when there was an explosion in his experimental setup. Without any safety measure, he was sitting in front of a combustion chamber testing a combination of kerosene mixed water with oxygen. After two successful trials, his adrenaline rush motivated him to go for a third, and literally, the last trial.