6 Spectacularly Bad Ideas From History's Greatest Geniuses

The modern world as we know it was shaped by the minds of geniuses. But the same "outside the box" thinking that gave us our great innovations also gave them some truly ridiculous ideas.

Does that give us the right to mock some of history's greatest minds? Ah, who knows?

Advertisement

6
Thomas Edison's Ghost Busting Machine

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Thomas Edison is America's most beloved asshole inventor, famous for stealing other people's inventions, hiring thugs to physically intimidate his competition and heroically electrocuting an elephant to discredit the use of alternating current. Also, he invented the light bulb (which he stole) and the motion picture camera, which he only invented so he could film himself having sex with other men's wives [citation needed].


"...and you'll just be in the closet the whole time we're boning, filming the shit out of it."

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Naturally, the next step for Edison was paranormal extermination. During the early days of the 20th century, contacting the spirit world was all the rage and any jackass with a gypsy wig and/or monocle could make bundles of cash holding seances to bilk grieving families hoping to talk to a deceased loved one. And if there was one thing Edison loved, it was money.

After intentionally burning his finger to the point his fingerprint was erased, Edison noted the fingerprint grew back and triumphantly concluded that all human beings must be made of "immortal units" which cannot be destroyed, thus explaining the existence of ghosts. He set about creating a device that would trap these immortal units and allow them to be studied by the living.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Edison was incredibly secretive about the nature of his ghost hunting mechanism--not even a prototype was ever seen. Just about the only real detail anyone knows is that one of his assistants died while working on it, presumably because Edison wanted to test and see if it worked.

5
Nikola Tesla's Earthquake Machine

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Nikola Tesla is like the photo negative of Thomas Edison. Edison made Direct Current (DC), Tesla made Alternating Current (AC). Edison became grotesquely rich, Tesla died poor. Edison got tons of stuff named after him, including corporations and high schools. All Tesla got was a crappy rock band from Sacramento.

Though it wasn't all sour grapes for Tesla--while Edison invented some pretty common place items like light bulbs and record players, Tesla excelled in awesome invention like robots, wireless electricity and death rays. He predicted the Internet 80 years before its existence. Also, he was played by David Bowie in a movie.


"Immediately, I rule harder than any scientist ever."

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

One thing Edison and Tesla did have in common was batshit lunacy. In Tesla's case, it was a pocket-sized earthquake generator. In 1898, Tesla conducted an experiment in mechanical resonance in his New York lab, which basically measures the tendency of something to absorb more energy from a vibration if said vibration matches its own natural frequency. In other words, everything has its own musical pitch that, if matched, will break the object, not unlike opera singers breaking crystal glasses with just their voices. Except in this case Tesla's crystal glasses were buildings.

Allegedly while testing his electro-mechanical oscillator (or earthquake machine), many buildings began to shake. Once the very building he stood in began to tremble, Tesla took a sledgehammer to the device, destroying it and likely saving everyone in the city.


"Shit, I've gotta break this fucking thing."

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

It's not really clear why Tesla was developing a portable earthquake machine, other than the fact that he could use it to get virtually whatever he wanted, for the rest of his life. There is no further record of Tesla using or trying to market the device, though we presume he kept a working version of it in his home in case he ever caught Edison combing through his garbage.


Tesla wouldn't hesitate to murder you with science.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

4
Alexander Graham Bell's Six Nippled Sheep

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

As all of you (hopefully) know, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, which is arguably the single most important invention of all fucking time. As probably none of you know, one of Bell's less notable inventions is the six nippled sheep.


"SIX GODDAMN TITS ON A MOTHERFUCKING SHEEP!"

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Bell spent the last 30 years of his life and $250,000 (adjusted for inflation that's roughly the Gross Domestic Product of Canada) on his beloved deranged sheep. Why would a famed inventor spend all his time and money just t3Cbr /> "Immediately, I rule harder than any scientist ever."

One thing Edison and Tesla did have in common was batshit lunacy. In Tesla's case, it was a pocket-sized earthquake generator. In 1898, Tesla conducted an experiment in mechanical resonance in his New York lab, which basically measures the tendency of something to absorb more energy from a vibration if said vibration matches its own natural frequency. In other words, everything has its own musical pitch that, if matched, will break the object, not unlike opera singers breaking crystal glasses with just their voices. Except in this case Tesla's crystal glasses were buildings.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Allegedly while testing his electro-mechanical oscillator (or earthquake machine), many buildings began to shake. Once the very building he stood in began to tremble, Tesla took a sledgehammer to the device, destroying it and likely saving everyone in the city.


"Shit, I've gotta break this fucking thing."

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

It's not really clear why Tesla was developing a portable earthquake machine, other than the fact that he could use it to get virtually whatever he wanted, for the rest of his life. There is no further record of Tesla using or trying to market the device, though we presume he kept a working version of it in his home in case he ever caught Edison combing through his garbage.


Tesla wouldn't hesitate to murder you with science.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

4
Alexander Graham Bell's Six Nippled Sheep

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

As all of you (hopefully) know, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, which is arguably the single most important invention of all fucking time. As probably none of you know, one of Bell's less notable inventions is the six nippled sheep.


"SIX GODDAMN TITS ON A MOTHERFUCKING SHEEP!"

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Bell spent the last 30 years of his life and $250,000 (adjusted for inflation that's roughly the Gross Domestic Product of Canada) on his beloved deranged sheep. Why would a famed inventor spend all his time and money just to shit on nature? To make more sheep, of course. Upon purchasing a pet ewe for his children, Bell noted sheep possessed only two nipples, an inferior number compared to pigs and cats. Evolution had clearly fucked this one up.


Bell versus Evolution: The Throwdown.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Bell figured that sheep with more nipples would naturally produce more offspring and thus make farmers' wallets fatter, a postulation not supported by science of any kind. Of course, the ramifications of the nipple enhanced sheep implies more far-reaching applications, the likes of which man has only fantasized about to this point.

3
Dr. Yoshiro Nakamatsu's Love Spray

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

While not widely known in America, Dr. Yoshiro Nakamatsu (who prefers to go by Dr. NakaMats) is a legend in Japan. He holds the world record for the most patents at 3,200, three times as many as Edison. He had a hand in inventing the floppy disk, CDs, DVDs, digital watches and karaoke machines. Look around at all the stuff in your apartment and Dr. NakaMats probably had a hand in its creation.


This is not a random Google image result for "Japanese man".
This is actually Dr. NakaMats.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Dr. NakaMats's latest and greatest innovation is the Love Jet, which according to his best explanation is catnip for vaginas. Ladies can just spray a few pumps on their unmentionables and the men will come running, as detailed in the most unintentionally hilarious video of all time.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Dr. NakaMats claims to have tested his invention on over 10,000 women, but hastens to point out, "I'm not doing the sex, just checking the meters." (Which we assume is code for "I'm doing the sex.") It's also important to note that Dr. NakaMats asserts Love Jet removes the need for foreplay, which is like removing the dialog from a Michael Bay movie and just leaving the explosions.


Dr. NakaMats again, just hangin'.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

While vagina magnet spray is a great idea on paper, we feel nature beat Dr. NakaMats to the punch by inventing its own way to attract men to vaginas--the vagina. Of course, Japan is the land of three donged demon rapists, so Japanese men may just have such a craving for the exotic that they raise the bar for vaginas higher than aforementioned vaginas can vault.

And we haven't even gotten to the nutty part. Dr. Nats sells his Love Jet for 30,000 yen (about $250) but they cost 80,000 yen to produce, resulting in a $400 loss per bottle. Why? Because Dr. NakaMats is worried about Japan's decreasing birth rate. He considers getting men and women hard a civic duty. Why can't our patriots be like that?

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

2
Joseph von Littrow's Flaming Intergalactic Communicator

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Born in 1781, Joseph von Littrow was a nobleman and esteemed mathematician. In 1819 he became the director of the Vienna Observatory and developed the Littrow projection, the only conformal retroazimuthal map projection (this is fancy talk for "a map that accurately shows the angular distance between two points" or "Mapquest"). Despite all his perfectly reasonable and respectable contributions to astronomy, Littrow knew he had at least one tit-bustingly insane idea in him, and that idea involved fire.


Joseph Littrow gold medal in craziness.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Ever since mankind looked skyward and wondered who or what else was out there we have attempted to contact other species in the cosmos. Today we send radio waves into deep space. Littrow essentially did the same, except apparently in the 17th century, "radio waves" were called "flames." In order to get the aliens attention, Littrow proposed digging a 30-kilometer wide circular ditch, filling it with kerosene and setting it on fire.


A ladder to the stars.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Evidently Littrow's idea was that a big enough fire would be seen from the heavens by any wayward visitors, but as any modern scientific mind would probably note, this would have to be the biggest fucking fire in the history of everything. A 40-mile long set of flaming letters reading "Smooch my terrestrial cock" would be difficult to read from Wisconsin, let alone Jupiter.

1
J. Walter Christie's Flying Tank

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Walter Christie was an American engineer who developed a tank suspension system, Christie suspension, which gave Russian, American and British tanks a considerably tactical advantage in World War II. Because of Christie's innovations, Allied tanks were faster, more agile and able to traverse longer distances than their Axis counterparts.

Christie also invented a transversely mounted engine/transmission assembly so ahead of its time it wouldn't be fully appreciated until 50 years later. He made a lot of innovations to motorized vehicles, but tanks were really his thing.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

There's an old saying that goes something like "once you find out what you're good at, keep doing it for the rest of your life." Christie's folly proves that advice isn't always so good. See, Christie was good at making tanks, so when it came to thinking up a new kind of vehicle to soar above modern battlefields, he thought "TANKS."

The idea was to drag the flying tank behind a big plane, or stash it in the plane's belly, then let it drop and glide gently to the ground while raining hellfire on your enemy. Once it touched ground it would shed its wings, or not, because a tank with wings would make the opposing army shit its pants in pure awe.

Of course, people would have to be nuts and not just a little drunk to even consider such a vehicle for their military. Luckily there are the Russians, who fit that "drunken crazy" bill to a T. The Russians took interest in the idea because they were looking for way to cut back on their parachute budget.

[

To turn on reply notifications, click here

453 Comments

Load Comments

More Articles

5 Famous Old Movies That Now Look Painfully Stupid In 2019

The flow of time is cruel to us all.

193

6 Insanely Complex Pop Culture Mysteries Solved By Fans

Some particularly obsessed fans sacrifice huge amounts of time and effort to come up with answers so we can all sleep a little better at night.

68

6 Utterly Insane Movie Moments Everybody Forgets Exist

Lots of people forgot these movie moments ... but, like, how?

156

5 Cute Easter Eggs That Turned Into Huge Disasters

Rarely does an Easter egg shatter your hold on reality ... but these just might.

81

6 Classic Films That Almost Turned Out Terrible

Let us gaze into the parallel realities where these famous movies are really just infamously terrible.

161

6 Directors Who Use The Same Weird Scene In Every Movie

You'll never unsee these unusual tics.

70