Ten More Inventions That Killed Their Inventors

Inventors are people who have to come up with an idea and then turned it from theory into reality, to solve a problem that has never been thought of before. By the nature of the invention, being an inventor means constantly pushing the limits of what is possible. But yet, thanks to them, the steam engine, automobile and computer have become the constants of our lives.

But the work of invention has been proven time and again to be dangerous. Inventions are often killed by their inventors when they fail, but sometimes those inventors are killed because of what they invented

Henry Smolinski

Henry Smolinski

Smolinski’s sole purpose was to build a flying car that would serve humanity. For this, he used Cessna-type Skymaster aircraft and Ford Pinto in his trials. While he wanted to finish the project he started in 1973 within a year, he not only failed his test flight on September 11, 1973 but also lost his life.

William Nelson

William Nelson, a General Electric employee, invented a new way to motorize bicycles. He then fell off his prototype bike during a test run and died.

Franz Reichelt

Being a tailor, Reichelt’s goal was to design a suit that could act as a flying parachute for pilots. The first attempt of this initiative, which attracted attention, was made with artificial mannequins and the necessary success was achieved. However, seeing this as enough, Reichelt chose himself as a victim and jumped from the Eiffel tower. The failure resulted in death.

Henry Winstanley

Henry Winstanley

Henry Winstanley was an inventor and engineer in 17th-century England who designed a massive lighthouse to mark dangerous rocks and received approval for his design. All went well until the night of November 26, 1703. A days-long storm, one of the biggest in British history, was pummeling the English Channel coast. Gale-force winds and waves carried away Winstanley’s lighthouse with Winstanley in it—and neither was ever seen again.

William Bullock

William Bullock turned his attention to the printing press which became the web rotary press. Enabling large rolls of paper to continuously be fed into the machine, the press then folded and cut the paper. His foot and lower leg were trapped and mangled by the machine. Even though surgeons tried to save his leg, Bullock would end up developing gangrene. He was taken back into surgery to amputate, but he died during the procedure.

Horace Lawson Hunley

Horace Lawson Hunley

He was an inventor working on submarines. All 3 attempts had sunk. The third attempt, which caused his own death, took place on October 15, 1863, and he lost his life along with 7 cabin crew.

Harry Smolinski

Harry Smolinski also tried to invent a vehicle of sorts. His prototype was constructed out of a Cessna twin-engine plane and a Ford Pinto. The team acknowledged that there were problems with the idea, but tested it anyway. Smolinski and a co-pilot took his Ford-Cessna combo out for a spin from California’s Ventura County Airport on September 11, 1973. Moments after takeoff, the airport manager saw a column of black smoke rising from the site of a crash. Bad welding and some loose parts were blamed for the fatal accident.

Thomas Midgley

Thomas Midgley

Midgley, who has been working on leaded gasoline and greenhouse gases, was caught to death in a bed he designed for patients with polio. He was found dead in 1944 in the bed where he used the rope and pulley system, entangled in the ropes.

Marie Curie

The legendary chemist discovered radioactivity as a result of his experiments with uranium. Thanks to these works, the inventor, who won the Nobel Prize twice, died of blood cancer, which he caught due to his work. She became known as the woman who died for science.

Valerian Abakovsky

Russian inventor Abakovsky was working on a high-speed train engine. The engine that the inventor, who died at the age of 26, invented and test-drove was an aircraft engine.