List O’ Ten Inventors Killed By Their Own Inventions II

List o' 10 Inventors Killed by Their Own InventionsTo add on to the first part of Bad Luck Inventors, this list presents ten more inventors who were – unfortunately – killed by their own creations. Just goes to show – just because you’re smart doesn’t mean you are lucky! Part One HERE

10. Michael Dacre: The Flying Taxi

top Ten list-Inventors Killed By Their Own Inventions-Michael Dacre-flying taxitop Ten list-Inventors Killed By Their Own Inventions-Michael Dacre-flying taxi

A British aviation pioneer, Dacre died when the flying taxi that he invented crashed and burned on its first test flight. The eight-seater that Dacre hoped to release to the public the following year was supposed to be able to take off and land on very short runways so that small airports could be built closer to city centers. Dacre, managing director of the British-based Avcen Ltd. at the time of his death, died about 190 miles north of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in the town of Taiping. According to a witness, the taxi failed to take off on the first three attempts. On the fourth, it shot vertically into the air before veering to one side and falling to the ground.

9. Alexander Bogdanov: Blood Transfusion

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Alexander Bogdanov was a noted Russian physician, philosopher, economist, science fiction writer, and revolutionary. One of his many scientific experiments involved ideas of possible rejuvenation through blood transfusion. Having given blood transfusions to many notable people, including Lenins sister, Bogdanov decided to give himself a transfusion of blood from one of his patients who suffered from malaria and tuberculosis. He died from the infections shortly after.

8. Marie Curie: Radioactive Isotopes

This Nobel Prize winner died of radiation poisoning. Which isn’t surprising considering she would carry tubes of Moreradioactive isotopes in her pocket and store them in her desk.

7. Tan Chengnian: Flying Machine

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Tan Chengnian, a Chinese farmer was killed when he crashed his homemade ultra light aircraft into a village courtyard in Pingyin County in east Chinas Shandong Province.

6. Wan Hu: The Rocket Chair

top ten list-inventors killed by their own inventions-Wan Hu rocket chair

According to legend,Wan Hu was a minor Chinese official of the Ming dynasty who attempted to become the world’s first recorded “astronaut”. Mr Hu is said to have attempted to launch himself into outer space in a chair to which 47 rockets were attached. The rockets exploded and, it is said, neither he nor the chair were ever seen again, but a crater on the far side of the Moon is named after him. Nobody really knows for sure – sounds like a case for Mythbusters! [Note: they actually did try on 2004 episode Episode 24 "Ming Dynasty Astronaut".]

The Discovery Channel’s show MythBusters attempted in the 2004 episode Episode 24 “Ming Dynasty Astronaut” to recreate Wan Hu’s flight using materials that would have been available to him. The chair exploded on the launch pad, with the crash test dummy showing what would be severe burns. An attempt was also made using a chair with modern rockets attached; however, the uncontrollable craft proved that there were far too many complications for such a thing to have succeeded. It was determined that small rockets that can be strapped to a chair cannot provide sufficient thrust to effectively lift it, giving the legend the label of myth “busted”. The view the crew members had of the first test as it was performed matched what the legend said; after the smoke from the explosion had cleared, both Buster (the crash-test dummy) and the chair had disappeared, though Buster and the remains of the chair were found next to the ‘launch-pad’.

5. Karel Soucek: The Stunt Capsule

top ten list-inventors killed by their own inventions-Karel Soucek-Stunt Barrell

Karel Soucek was a Canadian stuntman famous for inventing a capsule (really just a modified barrel) and riding down the Niagara Falls in it. He survived, although suffered some injuries. In 1985, he convinced a company to finance a barrel drop from the top of the Houston Astrodome in Texas. A special waterfall was created from the top of the 180 ft structure, with a plunge pit at the bottom. And again another act of stupidity failed. Soucek hit the rim of the pool instead of the center, causing the capsule to splinter and severely injure him. He died the next day. Evel Knievel called it the most dangerous stunt he had ever seen. His capsule is on display at the New York State Museum.

4. Donald Campbell: Blue Bird K7

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Donald Campbell, in his speedboat broke 8 world speed records until he could do it no more. His last target was 300 mph, but his blue birds stability broke down in the water and it somersaulted, resulting in his death.

3. James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton

James Douglas was a loyal supporter of the Scottish Catholic queen, Mary. He also created the Scottish Maiden, a Morerough form of the guillotine. After failing to secure the English throne for his liege, Douglas was killed by the very Scottish Maiden he invented.

2. Thomas Andrews Jr: The Titanic

OK – not really an inventor per se, but this noted ship builder/designer did take the fated passage on his most famous ship (no Leo Decaprio on board, but Mr. Andrews’ character was in the movie). Thomas Andrews was traveling on board the Titanic during its maiden voyage when it hit an iceberg on 14 April 1912 and was one of the 1,517 people who perished in the disaster.

1. Henry Winstanley: The Lighthouse

top ten list-inventors killed by their own inventions-Henry Winstanley The Lighthouse

Henry Winstanley was a famous English lighthouse architect and engineer who constructed the first Eddystone lighthouse. Winstanley wished to test the lighthouses strength and so demanded to be inside it during a storm. The lighthouse collapsed, killing Winstanley and five other people.

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