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7 inventors killed by their inventions

By: Shea Gunther on Jan. 18, 2012, 8:59 a.m.
Franz Reichelt in his parachute suit.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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Tragic irony

The life of an inventor is not an easy one. First you have to come up with a good idea that solves a problem in a way that no one has thought of before, and then you need to design and engineer your idea to take it from theory to reality. The very nature of invention means that inventors are continuously pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. This drive to discover the next Big Thing has been a boon to humanity and has given us inventions like the steam engine, the automobile and the personal computer. It's the major reason why we're still not huddled in caves fighting off wolves and cowering at the crack of thunder.

But invention is a fickle mistress and has proved to be a dangerous undertaking for many a would-be Edison. Things go wrong, inventions break or don't work as the designers intended, and sometimes inventors are killed by the very ideas they brought to life. We've compiled some of the sad but fascinating stories of seven inventors who died at the hand of their inventions. Let their stories serve as lessons for those of us who dream big. (Text: Shea Gunther)