ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Oh, the irony! Inventors Killed By Their Own Creations

Updated on May 25, 2012

Franz Reichelt

Known as the "Flying Tailor", born Austrian Franz Reichelt, attempted to develop the earliest parachute, called the "parachute suit", which he hoped would be used in aviation. After testing several dummies from his fifth floor apartment, he was granted permission to test his parachute from the first platform of the Eiffel Tower. On February 4, 1912, after much argument between the inventor and his friends and family whether he should use a dummy once again, he leapt to his death. The parachute failed to deploy and he was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

Newsreels caught the tragedy on tape, as show in the video to the right.

Marie Curie

Two-time Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie was famed for her discovery of two new elements, polonium and radium. Thanks to her, the first cancer treatments using radioactive isotopes were used on patients. Her research into radiation, which was conducted without any safety precautions, lead to her eventual death in 1934. She contracted aplastic anaemia due to the high levels of radioactivity in her blood. Even today her papers from the 1880's are stored in a lead box and can't be handled. As first female professor at the University of Paris and major contributer to science, her remains were transferred to the Pantheon in Paris in 1995, where she is the first and only woman to be layed to rest there.

Thomas Midgley Jr.

Mechanical engineer and chemist, Thomas Midgley Jr developed both the tetra-ethyl lead (TEL) additive to gasoline and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) while working at General Motors in 1916. However, he is better known for his cause of death than his accomplishments. When he was 51 years old, he contracted Polio which left him disabled. Being the engineer that he was, he created a device which would assist his carers in lifting and moving him from the bed which was made of ropes and pulleys. At the age of 55, he accidentally became entangled in his contraption, leading to strangulation and death.

Aurel Vlaicu

Romanian engineer and inventor, Aurel Vlaicu developed some of the earliest airplane models, one of which took its first flight in 1910. He was killed during a test flight of his aircraft while he attempted to cross the Carpathian Mountains. In 1916 during the Germany occupation of Bucharest, the Germans seized his Vlaicu III aircraft, and was never returned.

William Bullock

William Bullock of the inventor of the 1863 rotary printing press, which laid the path to modern printing presses across the world. Several years after inventing the press, he was installing a new machine in Philadelphia. On April 3, 1867, while making adjustments to the press, his foot became caught in the machine and was crushed. The foot later became gangrene and had to be amputated. He died on April 12, 1867 during the amputation surgery.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Fascinating history...great read. Voted up and interesting.

    • craftybird profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Thank you! The video was quite eerie but I thought it was interesting to add as well!

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 

      6 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      I enjoyed reading your article and the video was a nice supplement. Voted up and interesting.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)