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Dutchess_III's avatar

What are some inventions that didn't work out quite the way it was expected they would?

Asked by Dutchess_III (43359points) February 28th, 2011

Like computers. In the early days the predictions were that we’d no longer need paper! It would all be on the computer! The reality though, is that we use probably five times more paper now than we did before. Contracts have gone from being one or two pages long, to about 12, and they have to be printed out in triplicate, at least. One small correction and you print it all out again.

What are some other inventions you can think of that kind of back fired that way?

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16 Answers

markferg's avatar

The wheel. An interesting garden ornament? My arse!

markferg's avatar


Everyone spends the night looking at it. How do we put adverts in the middle of it? Get real!

markferg's avatar

Dr. Oppenheimer, do we really need a firecracker this big? What’s the celebration?

blueiiznh's avatar

New Coke
plastic grocery bags
Microsoft BOB
Mercury as a cure

coffeenut's avatar

lol….The segway

Dutchess_III's avatar

Cell phones…they were supposed to make us safer. Now they’re the #1 cause of traffic accidents (I think.)

mattbrowne's avatar

Here’s the list from TIME:

Segway, New Coke, Clippy, Agent Orange, CueCat, Subprime Mortgages, Crinoline, Nintendo Virtual Boy, Farmville, Hydrogenated Oils, Honegar, Hydrogen Blimps, Hair in a Can, DDT, Auto-Tune, Red Dye No. 2, Ford Pinto, Parachute Jacket, Betamax, Baby Cage, Tanning Beds, Crocs, Hula Chair, Foursquare, Pop-Up Ads, Phone Fingers, CFCs, Plastic Grocery Bags, Bumpit, Electric Facial Mask, Sony CD Copy Protection, Venetian-Blind Sunglasses, Pet Spa, Pontiac Aztek, Snuggie for Dogs, Mizar Flying Car, Asbestos, Olestra, Comfort Wipe, Fake Ponytails, HeadOn, Pay Toilets, Tamagotchis, Leaded Gasoline, Vibrating Ab Belt, Spam E-mail, Smell-o-Vision, Smile Checks, Microsoft Bob, Vio.,29569,1991915,00.html

But sometimes an invention fails because society isn’t ready for it yet. One example is the video telephone.

ragingloli's avatar

Hey, Tamagotchi were quite popular for a time.

Anyway, Macs, they suck.

SuppRatings's avatar

Lasers are a great example of an invention that was thought to be useless at the time, but now has uncountable applications.

anartist's avatar

Originally developed as a surgical antiseptic, marketed as an antiseptic floor and toilet cleaner, a cure for gonorrhea, finally found its market as a cure for chronic halitosis.

janbb's avatar

Post-its – 3M was trying to invent notes that would stick permanently.

markferg's avatar

@SuppRatings – 647. So I counted them, which makes you wrong. I win! prizes for me.

Austinlad's avatar

Viagra! Countless men around the world owe, uh, a salute to a small company in the Welsh village of Merthyr Tydfil. In 1992, a team of hard-working stiffs discovered the unexpected sex- enhancing power of an angina drug they were testing.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Austinlad : G&G to your description of the persons you mentioned above…

mattbrowne's avatar

@ragingloli – All these poor tamagotchis are dead. Famished and parched. And they didn’t leave any offspring. No tamagotchi kittens around anywhere. A fad is not the same as a successful invention, don’t you think?

markferg's avatar

@Austinlad – and the IT Manager at the plant in Ireland that manufactures it is (maybe was, it was a few years ago now) called Willie Power! Mr. William Power, really!

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