Saturday, July 13, 2024

Failed Inventions That Were Way Ahead Of Their Time Went On To Be Successful Later

“Innovation is where imagination meets ambition,” but it can also meet humor and failures at times. Some inventions in the past have seemingly failed when first introduced due to people not being able to understand the need for it or merely because of the complexity of use. However, men evolved, and then years later, the same innovations were brought back in the mainstream media, and people embraced them wholeheartedly. Although this doesn’t seem fair to the genius minds who invented these products at first, the truth is when ideas and innovations are just ahead of their time, no matter what we do, they are bound to fail. Today, join us in exploring the most failed innovations that were way ahead of their time and the greatest inventions that can change the world!

Failed Inventions That Were Way Ahead Of Their Time


Some of the most significant inventions in history also faced the biggest failures and rejections from being accepted.

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1. Television

While we may not imagine a day in our lives without watching the television, this invention was invented by Joseph Swan in 1884, and it took decades for people to start using it.

Although television was one of the first mediums for people to connect with others and see the world around them, it is a successful product now that initially failed.

Finally, the success story about television starts with the invention of the first black and white TV in 1927 by Philo Farnsworth. In the early days of television, many people thought that it would be a flop and no one would watch it. And most of the TVs that are being sold now have been improved from those original televisions.

2. The Automobile

In 1895, French inventor Gustave Trouvé filed for a patent for an “apparatus for driving carriages by means of electricity.” In 1897 he attempted to demonstrate it in public but was met with laughter from the audience because they did not believe that such an idea would ever be possible.

3. X-Ray Machine

Wilhelm Roentgen invented this machine in 1895, but due to lack of knowledge, nobody could use it properly, so it was later abandoned after being patented in 1901.

4. Segway


A classic example of a failed invention that was way ahead of its time is the Segway. Segways were created in 2001 and introduced to the public in 2002, but their usage didn’t take off until late 2007, when law enforcement officers first used them.

5. Fire Phone

Another similar example is the “Fire Phone,” a 3D-enabled smartphone developed by Amazon. Following the success of Kindle, the Fire Phone was released on July 25, 2014, with a price tag of $199, but similar to other failed inventions, it received mixed reviews from critics and consumers alike. It had poor battery life, many people disliked its clunky design, and most people thought it was too expensive for what it offered.

To date, this invention ranks top on the loss of failed innovations at Amazon with a whopping loss of $170 million.

6. Microsoft SPOT Watch

Bill Gates launched the SPOT Watch in 2004; however, it didn’t have roaring success because of its high price and unattractive design. The SPOT watch used FM waves to receive MSN messages, news, or weather updates. Years later, the apple watch was launched, and it was successful.

7. Video Phone

The video phone is one of the prime examples of unsuccessful products.

In today’s age of social media, where Facebook, Instagram, Skype, and Facetime are being used for video calling, the makers of the AT&T Picturephone would be perplexed at how the concept of the video is popular now. Therefore, the main factors that affected the popularity of this were the ease of use of the price tag.

8. Xerox Alto

This was the first computer ever launched in 1973. However, it didn’t have much commercial success. Nonetheless, it has paved the way for the information technology industry that is in existence today.

9. Apple Newton Message Pad

This was a pocket-sized personal digital assistant (PDA). It was launched in 1993, and it could enable you to take notes, store contacts, and manage calendars. This ended up being an epic failure due to it being launched at a time when the company was in turmoil

10. Microsoft Tablet

The Microsoft tablet was introduced a decade before apple. Although Bill Gates predicted that his tablet would become the most popular PC in America within five years. That wasn’t what happened because of the approach that Microsoft took instead of a better approach.

This is because Microsoft wanted the tablet to replace the PC instead of thinking of them as two different products as Apple did. The only issue is the price of the Microsoft Tablet, which was a lot more than that of Apple. All in all, it wasn’t the right time for the Microsoft tablet

11. Ask Jeeves

This was launched in the 1990s, and it was the leading search engine for a certain period in the late 1990s. Hence, Google now has an 89.1% market share.


This was first launched in 1999 to bring customers together to secure better prices for the goods they are purchasing. They also ran famous adverts; however, the company then fell into serious financial trouble. Groupon has now come, and it leads the way with almost all of the same business models.

13. Helicopter

Although this may not be a failed invention, the follow-up made on the original invention is worth mentioning.

We all know that, in 1878, the Wright brothers were the first to successfully fly a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft with a controllable pitch and yaw.

However, in 1939, U.S. Army Air Corps General Hap Arnold assigned two officers from his staff to work on a “flying jeep” project at Materiel Division of the Army Air Corps at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio.

They eventually created the world’s first helicopter using rubber-powered propellers and a rotor system that used aluminum alloy instead of steel or titanium alloys. This tweak led to what we today call Helicopter.

Greatest Inventions To Ever Exist The Can Change The World


Each year that passes brings with it new advancements in technology and science. Below are some of the greatest and most relevant inventions;

1. The Self-Driving Car

Autonomous cars or driverless vehicles function in a way that allows them to sense their environment and move safely without human assistance. Global tech companies like Ericsson, Google, and Apple have started testing this vehicle.

2. Virtual Grocery Shopping


In times when you don’t feel like running to your local grocery store for your usual items, remember that with the introduction of speedy delivery services like Instacart, you can now get your groceries delivered in the comfort of your own home.

3. Space X’s Reusable Rocket

SpaceX spent most of the decade developing its reusable rocket system. Falcon 9 is the world’s first orbital-class reusable rocket, and therefore this has made space more accessible to startups.

4. Smart Home

This company started in 2014 with the launch of Google Nest. It creates smart and connected devices for everything you might need.

5. The Smart Baby Monitor

To consider this as one of the best inventions, one has to look at its purpose. If you are a person who likes keeping a close eye on your baby’s sleep and breathing patterns, then this is worth it.

6. Tesla Power Wall

Solar power has become more affordable than gas or coal; therefore, it has become difficult to store excess energy and use it when needed, and this is where the tesla power wall comes in.

The Power Wall is an integrated battery system that stores solar energy for backup protection. Hence, when the grid goes down, power stays on.

7. Wireless Earbuds

In 2016, Apple introduced Air pods, and they grew in popularity hence becoming the mainstream wireless headphones.

8. Microblogging

In this new era of social media, it is easy to be constantly informed of what is happening around the world through microblogging. These are short messages written to an online audience for feedback or engagement. With apps like Twitter, Instagram, and more, news travels fast, which is a good thing.

9. Ride-sharing Apps

With the coming up of apps like Uber that set the stage for other ride-sharing apps like Lyft, private transport has become much more accessible, flexible, and affordable.

10. In-Home Exercise Equipment

At-home workout has become much more favored due to the introduction of the Peloton bike and treadmill. This high-tech exercise bike has transformed many people’s lives due to the flexibility of working out in the space of your own home. It has also brought about other at-home companies like Tonal and Mirror.

11. Ring Doorbell

This company was bought by Amazon five years after being rejected unanimously when the founder Jamie Siminoff pitched his idea to shark tank in 2013. This is a WIFI-enabled doorbell that starts recording video automatically. This happens when its built-in motion sensors are activated. It also includes a two-way intercom that lets the home residents speak with whoever is at their door. This is done via an app.

12. Google Assistant

Always wanted your own personal Google, one that you can ask questions, then look no further. Google assistant is the closest thing to general artificial intelligence. It communicates by voice, and at your command, it can do whatever you ask of it, including making calls, composing messages, and more.

Although this may not necessarily seem like an incredible innovation for some of us, the power of voice-activated device controls can be used in a whole another level of next-generation innovations.

Similar innovations are Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa.

A Word From AlignThoughts,

Some of these failed inventions are also prime examples of successful products we use today. While some were just plain bad ideas that never worked, others have been around for years and still do their job perfectly. The history of inventions is one that will be remembered for generations to come.

From the wheel to the printing press, from electricity to computers, and from airplanes to smartphones, people have struggled with the same problem over and over again until they finally found a solution.

In any case, it’s a good idea to take a look at the invention process from start to finish before you invest your hard-earned money into a product or service. This will help you avoid the mistakes others have made in the past and give you an idea of what could work best for your situation.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if some of these failed inventions had been successful?

Subscribe to us to enjoy more such interesting content! Also, stay tuned with us by following our social channels for more updates.

Key Takeaways On The Funny Failed Inventions That Went To Be Successful Later

Failed Inventions From The Past

  • Television – Due to inadequate knowledge of use, people didn’t know how to use tv initially, and the invention utterly failed.
  • The Automobile – People taught that the idea of using automobiles was bizarre and funny and even laughed at the public display of this invention by a French man.
  • X-Ray Machine – Wilhelm Roentgen invented this machine, but it was only used many years later.
  • Segway – The modern example of a failed invention of its time, went on to be successful after law enforcement verified it in 2007.
  • Fire Phone – Amazon’s Fire Phone was one of the biggest failed inventions of Bezos, costing him a whopping $170 million.
  • Microsoft SPOT Watch – Today’s Apple Watch is an idea that Bill Gates’ genius mind invented long ago but was left unaccepted.
  • Other examples of unsuccessful products are Video Phone, Xerox Alto, Apple Newton Message Pad, Microsoft Tablet, Ask Jeeves, LetsBuyIt, Helicopter.

Great Inventions That Can Change The World

  • The Self-Driving Car
  • Ring Doorbell
  • Google Assistant
  • Space X’s Reusable Rocket
  • The Smart Baby Monitor
  • Tesla Power Wall
  • The At-Home Science Lab
  • Smart Home
  • Wireless Earbuds
  • Microblogging
  • Ride-sharing Apps
  • In-Home Exercise Equipment
  • Virtual Grocery Shopping
AlignThoughts Editorial
AlignThoughts Editorial
The editorial team at AlignThoughts includes feature writers, researchers, and subject matter experts with rich domain knowledge who are always willing to go the extra mile to deliver quality content. We strive to create meaningful content with a fresh perspective that can leave an impact on your life.

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