9 Inventors Killed by Their Own Inventions

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Jimi Heselden didn't invent the Segway, but he was the company's owner Sunday when he tumbled off a cliff while riding an all-terrain version of the self-balancing vehicle. Maybe he would have invented something like the Segway, though, if Dean Kamen hadn't gotten to it first.

A former coal miner who lost his job following the 1984-85 miners' strike that affected much of the British coal industry, Heselden took his redundancy, or layoff, money and invented Hesco bastion, a collapsible wire mesh and fabric container that is used for military fortification and flood control.

The product has done so well over the past couple of decades, that Heselden was able to purchase Segway in late 2009 and also to donate millions of his personal fortune to charity. When he died this past weekend, Heselden was worth more than $250 million.

The Segway's future is uncertain in the wake of this public relations nightmare, but Heselden was hardly the first to go because of a product he loved. Here, nine other inventors who were killed by their own inventions:

Bonus: Many of these inventions were created before they could be captured on film, but not Franz Reichelt's parachute. Somebody was there to document his jump from the Eiffel Tower. As the YouTube user who added the video notes in the caption: "Probably the first recorded epic fail ever!"

Thanks to Michelle Legro for suggesting this subject via Twitter.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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