Although it is a sadly ironic yet rapidly growing myth that Heselden himself invented the Segway vehicle that led to his ultimate demise -- the Segway was actually invented by American physicist Dean Kamen in 2001, and his company was purchased just this year by Heselden -- the rumor did get the Surge Desk thinking about inventors who met their demise by their own creations. Here are five examples. See even more at Wikipedia's excellent list:
1. Jack Daniel. Yes, the Jack Daniel, founder of the Jack Daniel's Tennessee whiskey distillery. The Lynchberg, Tenn., native died in his hometown in 1911 from a blood poisoning infection that allegedly originated in the big toe of the foot he used to angrily kick a safe early one morning when he could not recall the combination. Not surprisingly, legend has it that Daniel was a bit liquored-up on his own special sauce when the fatal incident occurred.
2. Franz Reichelt. A tailor by trade, Austrian Franz Reichelt was known for designing unusual garments. One such article was a hybrid overcoat/parachute that Reichelt claimed would allow the wearer to glide from high elevations safely to the ground. To demonstrate his innovation, Reichelt planned to dress a dummy in the garment and toss it off the first deck of the Eiffel Tower. Reichelt met his untimely death, however, when at the last moment he changed his plans, jumping from the observation deck wearing the garment himself and ultimately dying upon impact.
Although Surge Desk is supremely impressed that this video A) exists and B) is on YouTube, be warned that it contains explicit content showing Reichelt's fatal plummet from the Eiffel Tower.
3. Michael Dacre. The British pilot met his unfortunate demise in 2009 while test running a flying taxi prototype that he designed with the hope of revolutionizing short distance air travel.
4. William Nelson. The General Electric employee was only 24 years old when in 1903 he died riding his own motorized bicycle innovation. Below is an account of Nelson's death as printed in the Oct. 4, 1903, edition of The New York Times:
5. William Bullock. It could have just as easily been Gutenberg. In 1863, Bullock earned much praise for revolutionizing the printing industry with the fast and efficient rotary printing press. Sadly, only four years later the inventor would die as doctors attempted to amputate Bullock's infected foot that was crushed while trying to kick a pulley into place on a new machine he was installing in Philadelphia.
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