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What do these have in common?

Started by Dave Hughes, October 21, 2011, 10:47:58 PM

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Dave Hughes

OK, I've got Stephen Fry to thank for this one!

What do the inventors of: The parachute suit, the flying car, and the web-fed rotary press all have in common?
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Jeff Zilles [jeffo]

Sunday, 6 November 2011

I'll have a stab at an answer for Dave's/Stephen's poser -  I contend that some of the early investigators into each of these fields lost their lives in the pursuit of their goal.

Mr.Fry's research facility undoubtably commands more clout than I can muster so I have had to make-do with a sometime less-than-perfect example.

The last first --  Web-rotary Press
William Bullock, an American, is credited with the invention of the web-rotary printing press in 1863 - he was killed due to an accident by his own web press in 1867.

Parachute Suit
Patrick de Gayardon [1960-1998] was a French parachutist, skydiver and skysurfer who achieved International fame for his spectacular wing suit [also called a Bat-suit] which he was utilising at the time he met his death although some sources attribute his demise to an error in rigging modifications he had made to the parachute he was using at the time.

Flying Car
The earliest I could find to hop off the ground though not actually fly was built by Glenn Curtiss in 1917 and produced no recorded injuries - then there is data on file of Henry Ford and his 'Sky-flivver', planned production of which was abandoned after a prang in 1928 which killed the pilot.

In the intervening years between then and now no doubt a number of aspiring avi-motorists either damaged their persons or removed themselves permanently for the gene-pool but records of such occurrences with some accuracy appear to be sparse - however, as late as 2009 a prototype of the 'flying taxi' belonging to British-based Avcen Ltd crashed and burst into flames during a test flight at Tekah, Malasia airstrip, killing its inventor/pilot Michael Robert Dacre.

Only the Web-press example is clear-cut, the others being not quite, so my conclusion may well be in error but I feel it worth the hazard.


Dave Hughes

You're spot on Jeff. They were all killed by their own inventions, the TV show concluded.

Wikipedia has further details of Bullock's accident:

QuoteIn a bizarre accident, Bullock was killed by his own invention. On April 3, 1867, he was making adjustments to one of his new presses that was being installed for the Philadelphia Public Ledger newspaper. Bullock tried to kick a driving belt onto a pulley. His leg was crushed when it became caught in the machine. After a few days, he developed gangrene. On April 12, 1867, Bullock died during an operation to amputate the leg. He is buried in Union Dale Cemetery on Pittsburgh's North Side.

Althought the programme didn't go into too many details, I think the parachute suit may have been a bit earlier than 1998, judging by the illustration shown. It looked more like a boiler suit!

Here's Gayardon's Suit:

As for the car, the illustration shown on the programme was black and white, and an American car.

I don't think it was this one, but it's a good "News in Brief."

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