Fifty Clever Bastards
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More About This Title Fifty Clever Bastards


The road to becoming a successful inventor is not an easy one. Paved with difficulties, roadblocks and sometimes sheer, back-to-the-drawing-board failure, the challenging journey has meant that plenty of geniuses have been lost to history and never given the credit they deserved for creating some of the most invaluable items of our time. However, over the course of Fifty Clever Bastards these same forgotten inventors and their unbelievable stories are about to be inducted into our illustrious Hall of Fame. Designed to celebrate all those who fell by the wayside, Fifty Clever Bastards comes to understand just what happened to so many of people behind the things we take for granted. Covering their incredible tales, the book details the unlucky inventors that were killed by their own inventions, debased by fraud or those who mysteriously took their ideas to the grave. Including aviators from the first millennium CE, pioneers of medicine and science and individuals who took their zeal to learn just a bit too far, Fifty Clever Bastards promises to shine a light on all of the crazy, wonderful inventors that history forgot. Responsible for some of the biggest breakthroughs the world has ever seen (and for appliances we use every single day), thanks to Martin Fone’s new book, Fifty Clever Bastards, some of the greatest geniuses of our time have finally been given their due.


A Classics graduate from Trinity College, Cambridge Martin Fone had a successful career in the insurance industry. He co-authored two books on public sector risk management which were adopted by the Institute of Risk Management as their standard text books.
Since retiring Martin has had the opportunity to develop his interests, mainly reading, writing and thinking or, as his wife puts it, locking himself away in his office for a few hours a day. In particular he has been blogging and writing in his tongue-in-cheek, irreverent style about the quirks, idiocies and idiosyncrasies of life, both modern and ancient. His latest books, Fifty Clever Bastards, and the more recent, Fifty Curious Questions, reflect this change in direction.


Introduction 1
1 Valerian Abakovsky 3
2 Abu Nasr Isma’il ibn Hammad al-Jawari 6
3 Harvey Ball 9
4 James Miranda Stuart Barry 12
5 Trevor Baylis 15
6 Laszlo Biro 18
7 Alexander Aleksandrovich Bogdanov 21
8 Karlheinz Brandenburg 24
9 John Romulus Brinkley 27
10 William Bullock 30
11 Robert Bunsen 33
12 Captain Cowper Phipps Coles, C.B., R.N. 36
13 Karl Drais 39
14 Douglas Engelbart 42
15 Guiseppe Marco Fieschi 45
16 Sieur Freminet 48
17 Luigi Galvani 51
18 George Garrett 54
19 James Goodfellow 57
20 Charles Goodyear 60
21 Wilson Greatbatch 63
22 William Harvey 65
23 Elias Howe Jr 68
24 Horace Lawson Hunley 71
25 Marie Killick 74
26 Ron Klein 77
27 Otto Lilienthal 80
28 Antonio Meucci 83
29 Thomas Midgley 86

30 Tom Ogle 89
31 Denis Papin 92
32 Arthur Paul Pedrick 95
33 Anthony E. Pratt 98
34 Louis le Prince 101
35 Robert Recorde 104
36 Sylvester H. Roper 107
37 Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier 110
38 Jonas Salk 113
39 Carl Wilhelm Scheele 116
40 Walter L. Shaw 119
41 Henry Smolinski 122
42 Percy Spencer 125
43 Hugh Edwin Strickland 128
44 Joseph Swan 131
45 Max Valier 134
46 Edward Vernon 137
47 John Walker 140
48 Henry Winstanley 143
49 The Winstons 146
50 Xerox Corporation 149