List of inventors killed by their own inventions

This is a list of inventors whose deaths were in some manner caused by or related to a product, process, procedure, or other innovation that they invented or designed.

Franz Reichelt (d. 1912) jumped off the Eiffel Tower expect­ing this con­trap­tion to act as a parachute.

Direct casualties

Art

  • Luis Jiménez (died 2006, age 65) was killed while creating the famous Colorado statue of a blue horse, the Blue Mustang, when a section of it fell on him and severed an artery in his leg.[1]

Automotive

Aviation

Chemistry

  • Andrei Zheleznyakov, a Soviet scientist, was developing chemical weapons in 1987 when a hood malfunction exposed him to traces of the nerve agent Novichok 5. He spent weeks in a coma, months unable to walk, and years suffering failing health before dying from its effects in 1992/3.[13]

Industrial

Maritime

 
Hunley Submarine

Medical

  • Alexander Bogdanov (1873–1928) was a Russian physician, philosopher, science fiction writer and revolutionary of Belarusian ethnicity who experimented with blood transfusion, attempting to achieve eternal youth or at least partial rejuvenation. He died after he took the blood of a student suffering from malaria and tuberculosis, who may have also been the wrong blood type.[19][20]
  • Thomas Midgley, Jr. (1889–1944) was an American engineer and chemist who contracted polio at age 51, leaving him severely disabled. He devised an elaborate system of ropes and pulleys to help others lift him from bed. He became accidentally entangled in the ropes and died of strangulation at the age of 55. However, he is better known for two of his other inventions: the tetraethyl lead (TEL) additive to gasoline, and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).[21][22][23]

Physics

  • Marie Skłodowska Curie (/ˈkjʊəri/ KEWR-ee;[3] French: [kyʁi]; Polish: [kʲiˈri]), born Maria Salomea Skłodowska (Polish: [ˈmarja salɔˈmɛa skwɔˈdɔfska]; was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. On 4 July 1934, she died at the Sancellemoz sanatorium in Passy, Haute-Savoie, from aplastic anaemia believed to have been contracted from her long-term exposure to radiation some of which was from the devices she created. [24]
  • Sabin Arnold von Sochocky invented the first radium-based luminescent paint, but eventually died, in 1928, of aplastic anemia resulting from his exposure to the radioactive material.[25]

Publicity and entertainment

  • Karel Soucek (1947–1985) was a Canadian professional stuntman who developed a shock-absorbent barrel. He died following a demonstration involving the barrel being dropped from the roof of the Houston Astrodome. He was fatally injured when his barrel hit the rim of the water tank meant to cushion his fall.[26]

Railway

Rocketry

  • Max Valier (1895–1930) invented liquid-fuelled rocket engines as a member of the 1920s German rocket society Verein für Raumschiffahrt. On 17 May 1930, an alcohol-fuelled engine exploded on his test bench in Berlin, killing him instantly.[28]
  • Mike Hughes (1956–2020) was killed when the parachute failed to deploy during a crash landing while piloting his homemade steam-powered rocket.[29]

Popular legends and related stories

 
Perillos being pushed into his brazen bull
  • Perillos of Athens (circa 550 BCE), according to legend, was the first to be roasted in the brazen bull he made for Phalaris of Sicily for executing criminals.[30][31]
  • Li Si (208 BCE), Prime Minister during the Qin dynasty, was executed by the Five Pains method which some sources claim he had devised.[32][33][34][failed verification] However the history of the Five Pains is traced further back in time than Li Si.
  • Wan Hu, a possibly-apocryphal[35] 16th-century Chinese official, 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 that neither he nor the chair were ever seen again.
  • William Brodie, "Deacon Brodie" of 18th century Edinburgh is reputed to have been the first victim of a new type of gallows that he was also the designer and builder of, but this is doubtful.[36]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Blucifer, the Murderous Mustang of Denver Airport". Slate. 2014-03-17. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  2. ^ "Died in the Saddle", Boston Daily Globe, p. 1, 2 June 1896
  3. ^ "Killed By Own Invention – While Trying Motor Bicycle He Had Made, Schenectady Man Meets Death". New York Times. 4 October 1903. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  4. ^ Doris A. Isaacson, ed. (1970). Maine: A Guide "Down East" (second ed.). Rockland, Maine: Courier-Gazette, Inc. Maine League of Historical Societies and Museums. p. 386. (First edition).
  5. ^ "F. S. Duesenberg Dies of Auto Injury". New York Times. 27 July 1932. p. 17.
  6. ^ Boitani, Piero; Boitani, Professor of Comparative Literature Piero (2007). google.com Piero Boitani, Winged words: flight in poetry and history. University of Chicago Press, 2007. p. 38. ISBN 9780226065618. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  7. ^ Biography of Otto Lilienthal Lilienthal Museum
  8. ^ 2003 Personal Accounts Darwin Awards
  9. ^ Great Britain Patent GB191026658
  10. ^ Ralph S. Cooper, D.V.M. "Aurel Vlaicu at www.earlyaviators.com". Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  11. ^ Morris, Neil (2010). From Fail to Win, Learning from Bad Ideas: Transportation. ISBN 978-1-4109-3911-1.
  12. ^ "British inventor dies in crash on test flight of his flying taxi". The Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 20 August 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  13. ^ "'It's got me': the lonely death of the Soviet scientist poisoned by novichok". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  14. ^ "United States Patent 61996". Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  15. ^ "United States Patent 100,367". Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  16. ^ "Inventors killed by their own inventions". Discovery News. Retrieved 2010-10-30.
  17. ^ "Eddystone Lighthouse History". Eddystone Tatler Ltd. Archived from the original on 2 May 2006. Retrieved 7 September 2006.
  18. ^ "The Birth of Undersea Warfare – H.L. Hunley". Undersea Warfare: The Official Magazine of the U.S. Submarine Force. United States Navy. September 17, 2011. Archived from the original on October 16, 2012.
  19. ^ "Transfusion Medical Reviews". 2007: 337–340. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  20. ^ Huestis DW (2007). "Alexander Bogdanov: the forgotten pioneer of blood transfusion". Transfus Med Rev. 21 (4): 337–340. doi:10.1016/j.tmrv.2007.05.008. PMID 17900494.
  21. ^ Bryson, Bill. A Short History of Nearly Everything. (2003) Broadway Books, US. ISBN 0-385-66004-9
  22. ^ Alan Bellows (2007-12-08). "The Ethyl-Poisoned Earth". Damn Interesting.
  23. ^ "Milestones, Nov. 13, 1944" Time, November 13, 1944
  24. ^ "Marie Curie". www.mariecurie.org.uk. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  25. ^ "Radium paint takes its inventor's life; Dr. Sabin A. von Sochocky Ill a Long Time, Poisoned by Watch Dial Luminant. 13 Blood Transfusions. Death Due to Aplastic Anemia – Women Workers Who Were Stricken Sued Company". The New York Times. 15 November 1928.
  26. ^ Associated Press (21 January 1985). "35,000 Watch as Barrel Misses Water Tank : 180-Ft. Drop Ends in Stunt Man's Death". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  27. ^ Alexey Abramov / Алексей Абрамов By the Kremlin Wall / У кремлёвской стены Moscow / М., Politizdat / Политиздат 1978 pp./стр. 399 (in Russian)
  28. ^ "American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics". Archived from the original on 26 December 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  29. ^ Silverman, Hollie (February 23, 2020). "Daredevil 'Mad Mike' Hughes dies while attempting to launch a homemade rocket". CNN. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  30. ^ "Perillos of the Brazen Bull". Archived from the original on 16 December 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  31. ^ "The Brazen Bull". Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  32. ^ Guisso, R. W. L., The first emperor of China, New York : Birch Lane Press, 1989. ISBN 1-55972-016-6. Cf. p.37
  33. ^ Fu, Zhengyuan, Autocratic tradition and Chinese politics, Cambridge University Press, 1993. Cf. p.126
  34. ^ "The Civilization of China, Chapter II: Law and Government". Archived from the original on 11 August 2015. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
  35. ^ Williamson, Mark (2006). Spacecraft Technology: The Early Years. IET. ISBN 9780863415531.
  36. ^ Roughhead, W., Classic Crimes: A Selection from the Works of William Roughead, London : Cassell,1951. ISBN 0394716485.

Further reading

External links