Many inventions over the course of human history have shifted future growth through great innovation. Most of these inventions are embraced by humanity and are built upon by future generations. The 5 inventions listed below could have fit in that category if they worked as claimed. Unfortunately, we will never know if they did, as the secret to the invention went to the grave with its creator.
1) Global Wireless Energy
Nicola Tesla invented the concept of long-range wireless energy. We see this technology today with mobile devices, but Tesla planned to provide the energy on a global scale. To facilitate the transmission, he began construction on the Wardenclyffe Tower in Shoreham, Long Island. JP Morgan financed the operation, but ultimately backed out when the budget was overrun. Tesla was left without financing, and was finally forced to abandoned the project completely.
Marcello Pellegrino Ernetti was an Italian Roman Catholic Benedictine priest and a famous modern day exorcist. In the 1950s he was part of a group that supposedly included Nobel Laureate Enrico Fermi when he announced that he had invented a device that could see into the past. He called it Chronovision. Ernetti stated that the device didn’t work by sending people through time, rather, it could “hear” and “see” echos of events from the past. He claimed that he saw and transcribed the now-lost tragedy Thyestes and witnessed Jesus dying on the cross. He was a well-respected man throughout his life and work, but his claims to the Chronovision were debated and never validated. When he died in 1994, the Vatican destroyed the device.
3) Ogle Carburetor
In the 1970s, 20 year-old Tom Ogle stumbled upon a method to pressurize gasoline into a vapor and inject it into the firing chambers using a modified carburetor. He installed it on his Ford Galaxie and was able to get over 113 miles per gallon of fuel. He felt that with smaller and lighter cars, he could achieve even more. His car was inspected and found to be legitimately using his invention and obtaining the claimed mileage. Professor Gerald Hawkins of Texas A&M University, holder of a doctorate in mechanical engineering with a background in gas dynamics and aerospace study said “This is no hoax. Ogle eliminated the carburetor and achieved what the gasoline internal combustion engine was supposed to do all along – to operate off fumes.” The money flowed in from financial backers, but after some issues with licensing and patents, Ogle lost the financing. He was dead at 24 by a combination of Darvon, a prescribed pain killer, and alcohol. His death was ruled accidental or suicide.
4) Baghdad BatteryThe Baghdad Battery refers to three artifacts which were found together: a ceramic pot, a tube of one metal, and a rod of another. It is believed that wine, lemon juice, grape juice, or vinegar was used as an acidic electrolyte solution to generate an electric current from the difference between the electrode potentials of the copper and iron electrodes. After the Second World War, a man named Willard Gray demonstrated current production by a reconstruction of the inferred battery design when filled with grape juice. While the true purpose of the device remains unknown, its possible that batteries and powered devices may have been used in human history far earlier than documented.
5) Flexible Glass
During the reign of the Roman Emperor Tiberius Caesar, a craftsman brought a drinking bowl made of flexible glass before Caesar. Caeser threw it to the floor, whereupon the material dented, rather than shattering. The inventor then repaired the bowl easily with a small hammer. After the inventor swore to the Emperor that he alone knew the technique of manufacture, Tiberius had the man beheaded, fearing such material could undermine the value of gold and silver.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, and we don’t have that today. With that in mind, these potentially amazing inventions may have had the power to change the course of human history. Or maybe not; the world will never know for sure.