To be an inventor, you need a pile of junk, some imagination, and the ability to take a leap of faith.Some inventions change the course of human history — and some backfire terribly — relegating their creators to the Wikipedia pages and Darwin Awards of our time.
Here are 10 stories of inventors who should have stayed in bed the day they tried to leave their mark.
As first Chinese Prime Minister, Li Si developed The Five Pains method of torture and execution.
Li Si was sentenced to death after being convicted of treason by the emperor and had five pieces of his anatomy snipped off before unceremoniously bleeding to death.
English architect Winstanley had great faith in the strength of his newly constructed Eddystone lighthouse.
During the Great Storm of 1703, he and five others perished when they refused to leave the lighthouse, guiding ships from the rocks, and the tower collapsed.
Submarine technology was limited during the Civil War era, but that didn't stop Hunley, a Confederate marine engineer, from inventing and piloting the first hand-powered combat submarine.
The sub had already sunk once before when Hunley joined a routine training exercise, during which the ship and its 8 crew members failed to resurface.
The boat was posthumously named for him when it was recovered.
The 1863 invention of the rotary printing press accelerated and galvanised the printing industry, but the same can't be said for its inventor William Bullock.
Four years after the original invention Bullock crushed his foot while installing and testing a new machine in Philadelphia.
The foot developed gangrene, and he failed to survive an attempted amputation.
Nelson, a 24-year-old General Electric employee from Schenectady, New York, attempted to create a new motorised bicycle prototype in 1903.
On his first test run, he fell off the bike going up a hill and was killed instantly.
An Austrian-born French tailor obsessed with aviation, Reichelt developed a parachute that aviators could wear as a safety device in case of emergency.
On a test run from the 276 foot observation deck of the Eiffel Tower he plummeted straight to the ground and died on impact.
As if contracting polio and becoming disabled at age 51 wasn't bad enough, Thomas Midgley suffered an unfortunate end at the hands of the device meant to help him.
He invented a series of pulleys and strings designed to aid others to lift him from his bed.
In 1944, the American chemist and engineer accidentally entangled himself in the strings and was strangled.
The Mizar, designed to connect the highway to the sky, was unveiled in 1973 by Smolinski's Advanced Vehicle Engineers company.
It had the body of a Ford Pinto with the wings of the Cessna, utilising the car engine and a propeller to take off.
Poor design and construction was blamed for the events of September 11th, 1973, when the right wing of the vehicle detached from the body of the car. Smolinksi and pilot Harold Blake were killed in the crash.
Soucek, a Canadian stuntman, took his 'capsule,' a fortified barrel, off the top of the Houston Astrodome.
A 180 foot waterfall was devised, but the capsule took a bad spin, slamming into the rim of the plunge pool. Soucek was severely injured and died the next day.
In an attempt to revolutionise short-distance air travel, making it easier to fly closer to city centres, inventor and pilot Michael Dacre created a flying taxi called the Jetpod.
During a 2009 test run in Malaysia, the plane made it a few hundred meters before veering wildly and crashing into the ground.
53-year-old Dacre died on impact.
Though not the inventor of the Segway, Heselden, the company's owner, took a rugged terrain version of the scooter out for a ride one September morning. After backing up to allow a dog walker to pass on a narrow walkway, Heselden tumbled over an 80-foot cliff.
The British multimillionaire and philanthropist was found dead in the river below.
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