25 Tragic Stories Of Brilliant Inventors Killed By Their Own Creations

Posted by , Updated on September 30, 2014


Have you ever wanted to be an inventor? It may seem easy – just come up with something useful and new and spend the rest of your life enjoying the money you get as a reward. Well, in fact, it hardly works like this. Being an inventor is not easy at all. Things can go wrong, the ground-breaking idea might not be that ground-breaking, the inventions can break or don’t work as the designers thought, and, ultimately, the inventors can even get killed by the very ideas or things they brought to life. Unfortunately, this really happens. If you don’t believe, check out these inventors killed by their own creations.

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Cowper Phipps Coles

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Born in 1819, Coles was an English inventor and distinguished Royal Navy Captain who invented a rotating turret for ships during the Crimean War. After the war, his ship, the HMS Captain which was an experimental warship built to his designs, required several dangerous modifications, including a so called “hurricane deck” which raised the ship’s centre of gravity. In September 1870, the ship overturned and Coles together with most of 500 person crew drowned.


Henry Winstanley

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Winstanley was an English painter and engineer most remembered for constructing the first Eddystone lighthouse. He was so confident with his construction that he expressed a wish to be inside the lighthouse during a great storm. He got his wish. The lighthouse collapsed in a huge storm on November 1703, killing Winstanley and five other people.


Thomas Andrews Jr

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Born in Comber, County Down, Ireland in 1873, Andrews was an Irish businessman, shipbuilder, managing director and head of the drafting department for the shipbuilding company Harland and Wolff in Belfast, Ireland. He was also the chief naval architect of the HMS Titanic and was onboard during its maiden voyage in April 1912. Andrews was one of more than 1,500 people who lost their lives in this infamous tragedy.


William Nelson

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Born in 1879, William Nelson was an American engineer and inventor who worked for General Electric. Specialized in motorizing bicycles, Nelson suffered a fatal injury while test-driving a prototype motorized bike for which he invented a motor in 1903.


Otto Lilienthal

25 Tragic Stories Of Brilliant Inventors Killed By Their Own Creationswww.flyingmachines.org

Known as the “Glider King“, Lilienthal was a German pioneer of aviation who was the first person to make well-documented, successful gliding flights. He had made several successful flights, reaching a distance of up to 820 feet. However, during one of the flights his glider stalled and fell from a height of about 50 feet(15.24m). He fractured his neck and died about 36 hours after the crash.

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