9 Life-Changing Inventions the Experts Said Would Never Work

The lightbulb. The telephone. Email. If you’re a specialist in your field, there are two ways to become a household name: create something new, or claim it can never be done. If you want to be remembered on the Internet, choose the second one. Here are 9 examples of breakthroughs, inventions and innovations the experts were completely wrong about.

1. The Electric Lightbulb

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“… good enough for our transatlantic friends … but unworthy of the attention of practical or scientific men.” British Parliamentary Committee, referring to Edison’s light bulb, 1878.

“Everyone acquainted with the subject will recognize it as a conspicuous failure.” Henry Morton, president of the Stevens Institute of Technology, on Edison’s light bulb, 1880.

The Brits get sniffy about American innovation (not for the first time) – and miss the invention of the century. Now our light bulbs comes in all shapes and sizes, and we’re eco-innovating faster than ever. Not too shabby for a conspicuous failure.

Mike Sowden

Mike Sowden is a freelance writer based in the north of England, obsessed with travel, storytelling and terrifyingly strong coffee. He has written for online & offline publications including Mashable, Matador Network and the San Francisco Chronicle, and his work has been linked to by Lonely Planet, World Hum and Lifehacker. If all the world is a stage, he keeps tripping over scenery & getting tangled in the curtain - but he's just fine with that.