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Scotty Trigg

10 Inventors Killed By Their Own Inventions

Posted By: on June 2, 2010
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Ismail ibn Hammad al-Jawhari (died ca. 1003–1010)


A Muslim Kazakh Turkic scholar from Farab he concocted a flying machine that used two wooden wings and a rope. He leapt from the roof of a mosque in Nijabur and flew/glided for a short while before eventually falling to his death.

William Bullock (1813–1867)


Mr. Bullock invented the web rotary printing press. Several years after he had invented it, he was installing a new machine in Philadelphia. During the process his foot was crushed by the heavy contraption. The crushed foot developed gangrene and Bullock died during the amputation.

Otto Lilienthal (1848–1896)


Otto would frequently be the pilot for his various gliders that he built. During a flight in 1896 he crashed roughly. The following day he died from injuries sustained in the wreck.

William Nelson (1879−1903)


William was a General Electric employee. Working there he invented a new way to motorize bicycles. While testing his new cycle he fell off which resulted in his death.

Franz Reichelt (1879–1912)


As a tailor, Reicht developed a coat parachute. He fell to his death off the first deck of the Eiffel Tower while testing his invention. It had gotten permission from authorities to test it using a dummy but he felt it better to try it himself. It was his first and last attempt at using it.

Aurel Vlaicu (1882–1913)


A  Romanian engineer, inventor, airplane constructor and early pilot. He developed several flying machines. While attempting to cross the Carpathian Mountains by air in his self-constructed “airplane” Valaicu feel to his death.

Valerian Abakovsky (1895–1921)


Abakovsky constructed the aerowagon, an experimental high-speed railcar that had a large aircraft engine and propeller traction. It was intended to carry Soviet officials. On July 24, 1921, a group took the aerowagon from Moscow to the Tula collieries to test it, with Abakovsky also on board. They made it to Tula but in the return trip it derailed resulting in the death of everyone on board.

Marie Curie (1867–1934)


Curie invented the process to isolate radium after co-discovering the radioactive elements radium and polonium in 1898. After a life of exposure to ionizing radiation which emanated from her research materials she died of aplastic anemia.

Thomas Midgley, Jr. (1889–1944)


An American engineer and chemist who contracted polio at age 51, leaving him severely disabled. He came up with a system of strings and pulleys to help others lift him from bed. In a weird twist of fate he, while using the system he was  accidentally entangled in the ropes of this device and died of strangulation at the age of 55.

Michael Dacre (1956 – 2009)

An aviation enthusiast living in Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia where he worked as the managing director for British-based Avcen Ltd, the manufactorer of the “flying taxi”. Dacre had invented the flying machine and was taking it on its first test flight when he crashed resulting in his death.

2 Responses to “10 Inventors Killed By Their Own Inventions”

  1. JoshuaFalken says:

    Image illustrating "Abakovsky" showing the 1930's German Schienenzeppelin experimental railcar, and NOT the discussed Russian Aerowagon!

  2. KEITH says:

    Valerian Abakovsky (1895–1921)

    Your photo is not the 1921 Russian Aerowagon – it is the rear of the German Schienenzeppelin in Berlin in 1931. I cannot locate a photo of the Aerowagon – if you can please send to me

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