Inventors Killed by Their Inventions

Inventor Franz Reichelt the moment before his death after jumping from the Eiffel Tower
Inventor Franz Reichelt is seen here during a jump from the Eiffel tower at the exact moment his wearable parachute invention betrayed him.

Inventors killed by their own inventions is certainly irony at it’s finest. The infographic below details the untimely demises of seven innovators whose creations ultimately determined their shameful and often embarrassing fates.

  • Henry Smolinski: Created a flying car by fusing a Cessna with a Ford Pinto in 1973 that went on to bludgeon Smolinski and the pilot into the ground during a test flight.
  • Franz Reichelt: Designed a wearable parachute in 1903, which failed him when he got the bright idea to test it by jumping off the Eiffel Tower.
  • Horace Lawson Hunley: Engineered early hand-powered submarines for the American Civil War, including one which routinely sank. The blood-thirsty sub had already claimed five lives before it took Hunley himself and seven other crew members to their watery graves in 1863.
  • Thomas Midgley Jr: Inventor of a rope and pulley system that subsequently ensnared and suffocated him in 1944.
  • Marie Curie: Pioneered several advances in radioactive isotopes, including the discovery of polonium and radium, which lead to aplastic anemia caused by radiation exposure.
  • Valerian Abakovsky: Created a train with a high speed airplane engine and propeller, which derailed and killed Abakovsky and five others during testing.
  • Perillos of Athens: Creator of the Brazen Bull, a torture device disguised as a hollow metal bull which would roast the unlucky captive trapped inside with a fire beneath the belly. After its creation, Perillos was immediately put inside and cooked alive.

Inventors Killed by Their Inventions Infographic

Inventors killed by their inventions infographic

via Confessions of a Funeral Director

Are there any other inventions-turned-death-machines that should be included here?

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9 years ago

The inventor of the segway standing cycle died on one.

Sean Patrick Dralle
9 years ago

Please… never say anyone INVENTED an element. It´s like you’d say Newton invented gravity, just because he let an apple fall. Please say discovered.

bill smith
bill smith
2 years ago