It Looked Good on Paper: Bizarre Inventions, Design Disasters, and Engineering Follies

It Looked Good on Paper: Bizarre Inventions, Design Disasters, and Engineering Follies

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. 

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