Everyone seems to be talking, (either jokingly or otherwise) about December 21st and the Mayan prediction for the end of the world.
It got me thinking of things people had predicted years ago, which turned out to be false. Ridiculously so in some cases.
If only they could have seen into the future….
“Everything that can be invented has been invented” - Commissioner, US Patent Office 1899. Disputed, but if it’s true it must be the biggest mistake of all!
“There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.” – Albert Einstein, 1932. Oh dear, even a genius sometimes gets it wrong. But so did someone else…..
“It doesn’t matter what he does, he will never amount to anything.” – Albert Einstein’s teacher to his father, 1895
“I think there is a world market for maybe 5 computers” - IBM Chairman 1943
“There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share” – Steve Ballmer, USA Today, April 30, 2007
‘Next Christmas the iPod will be dead, finished, gone, kaput’ – Sir Alan Sugar, February 2005
“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home” – Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC), maker of big business mainframe computers, arguing against the PC in 1977
“We will never make a 32 bit operating system.” – Bill Gates
This next one has got to be the funniest…….
“Rail travel at high-speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia.” – Dr Dionysys Larder (1793-1859), professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy, University College London.
This one comes a close second…..
“When the Paris Exhibition of 1878 closes, electric light will close with it and no more will be heard of it” – Oxford professor Erasmus Wilson.
“Television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.” – Darryl Zanuck, movie producer, 20th Century Fox, 1946.
“Television won’t last. It’s a flash in the pan.” – Mary Somerville, pioneer of radio educational broadcasts, 1948
“How, sir, would you make a ship sail against the wind and currents by lighting a bonfire under her deck? I pray you, excuse me, I have not the time to listen to such nonsense.” – Napoleon Bonaparte, when told of Robert Fulton’s steamboat 1800s
The following gentleman was way out on some things…
“X-rays will prove to be a hoax.” – Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society, 1883.
“There are only 400 years of oxygen supply remained on the planet, due to the rate of burning combustibles” – Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society, 1898
“Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” — Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society, 1895.
“Radio has no future.” - Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society, 1897
“The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.” — Sir William Preece, Chief Engineer, British Post Office, 1878
“The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty – a fad.” – The president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford’s lawyer, Horace Rackham, not to invest in the Ford Motor Co. 1903
The cinema is little more than a fad. It’s canned drama. What audiences really want to see is flesh and blood on the stage.” – Charlie Chaplin, actor, producer, director, and studio founder, 1916
“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” - Harry Warner, Warner Brothers, as movies with sound made their debut in 1927
“A rocket will never be able to leave the Earth’s atmosphere.” – New York Times, 1936
“Guitar music is on the way out” – Record executive who rejected the Beatles 1962
Well, this next one was sort of right….
“Reagan doesn’t have that presidential look.” - United Artists Executive, rejecting Reagan as lead in 1964 film The Best Man.
“It will be years – not in my time – before a woman will become Prime Minister.” - Margaret Thatcher, October 26th, 1969
“With over fifteen types of foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn’t likely to carve out a big share of the market for itself.” - Business Week, August 2, 1968
“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 abolishment of pain in surgery is a chimera. It is absurd to go on seeking it…knife and pain are two words in surgery that must forever be associated in the consciousness of the patient.” - Dr. Alfred Velpeau, French surgeon, 1839
“Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.” – Pierre Pachet, British surgeon and Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872
“We are probably nearing the limit of all we can know about astronomy.” – Simon Newcomb, Canadian-born American astronomer, 1888
“Children just aren’t interested in Witches and Wizards anymore.” - Anonymous publishing executive writing to JK Rowling 1996