A remarkable compendium of wild schemes, mad plans, crazy inventions, and truly glorious disasters
Every phenomenally bad idea seemed like a good idea to someone. How else can you explain the Ford Edsel or the sword pistol—absolutely absurd creations that should have never made it off the drawing board? It Looked Good on Paper gathers together the most flawed plans, half-baked ideas, and downright ridiculous machines throughout history that some second-rate Einstein decided to foist on an unsuspecting populace with the best and most optimistic intentions. Some failed spectacularly. Others fizzled after great expense. One even crashed on Mars. But every one of them at one time must have looked good on paper, including:
- The lead water pipes of Rome
- The Tacoma Narrows Bridge—built to collapse
- The Hubble telescope—the $2 billion scientific marvel that couldn't see
- The Spruce Goose—Howard Hughes's airborne atrocity: big, expensive, slow, unstable, and made of wood
With more than thirty-five chapters full of incredibly insipid inventions, both infamous and obscure, It Looked Good on Paper is a mind-boggling, endlessly entertaining collection of fascinating failures.
Gathered in this book is a collection of flawed plans, half baked ideas, and downright ridiculous machines that, with the best and most optimistic intentions, men have constructed throughout history. Included are such military, scientific, commercial, and infrastructure disasters as: The Lead water pipes of Rome; Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse; Edison's electrical folly; Betamax; Concorde crash; Hubble - A $2 billion telescope that didn't work; the Mars probe failures due to simple math mistakes; Cold Fusion; and, Ford Pinto. Some failed spectacularly, others fizzled after great expense, and one crashed on Mars. While this is a book about ideas and things men make that have failed, it is not a technical manual. Rather it is a fun collection that shows how an otherwise brilliant designer, scientist, architect, or doctor can often spend years or millions creating something that a few small bits of common sense would have prevented.