There is long list of inventors whose death was somehow related to the product, process or procedure they invented. To cite just a few,

  • Marie Curie (1867–1934) invented the process to isolate radium and died of aplastic anemia as a result of prolonged exposure to ionizing radiation.

  • William Bullock (1813–1867) invented the web rotary printing press. Several years after its invention, his foot was crushed during the installation of a new machine in Philadelphia. The crushed foot developed gangrene and Bullock died during the amputation.

  • Franz Reichelt, the Flying Tailor This Austrian-born French tailor is remembered for his accidental death by jumping from the Eiffel Tower while testing his own invention, a wearable parachute suit for pilots who would escape from a damaged plane.

Is there a proverb or saying for such a situation?

  • reminds me of the Darwin award, but these are inventors, not idiots – Tyler Kropp Jul 25 '15 at 2:12
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    Hoisted by his own petard? – deadrat Jul 25 '15 at 2:16
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    @deadrat Shakespeare would certainly answer that. If there is no better answer in current English, I will certainly accept it. – Centaurus Jul 25 '15 at 2:18

Hoist with his own petard as in:

There's letters seal'd: and my two schoolfellows,

Whom I will trust as I will adders fang'd,

They bear the mandate; they must sweep my way

And marshal me to knavery. Let it work;

For 'tis the sport to have the enginer

Hoist with his own petar'; and 't shall go hard....

(Hamlet by Shakespeare as quoted in Wikipedia)

"A petard was a small bomb used for blowing up gates and walls when breaching fortifications...... The pétard, a rather primitive and exceedingly dangerous explosive device, consisted of a brass or iron bell-shaped device filled with gunpowder fixed to a wooden base called a madrier. This was attached to a wall or gate using hooks and rings, the fuse lit and, if successful, the resulting explosive force, concentrated at the target point, would blow a hole in the obstruction, allowing assault troops to enter.

"The word remains in modern usage in the phrase hoist with one's own petard, which means 'to be harmed by one's own plan to harm someone else' or 'to fall into one's own trap,' implying that one could be lifted up (hoist, or blown upward) by one's own bomb." Wikipedia

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  • Deadrat posted while I was composing this. – ab2 Jul 25 '15 at 2:23
  • @JakeRegier -quoting is not a problem if the source is given. However, ab2, the wording might be considered someone's intellectual property, the use of which, without citation, is iffy. – anongoodnurse Jul 25 '15 at 3:51
  • I posted posrted a complete answer shortly after Deadrat posted a short comment. I did not see Deadrar;s comment until I hit post. I then added a comment acknowledging his priority. – ab2 Jul 25 '15 at 4:40
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    @Jake Regier Where do you get 30 mnutes? When I finished the Answer I was 5 or 6 minutes behind Deadrar. Now Deadrat and I are both at 2 hours. THis is a very odd conversation, and I don't much like the tone of it. – ab2 Jul 25 '15 at 4:54
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    This has been discussed before in Meta, comments are not answers. If Deadrat chose to make a comment and not give a full answer, any user can use the content of his comment to make an answer. Comments can disappear any moment and are not to be taken as answers. – user66974 Jul 25 '15 at 6:36

Frankenstein's monster: A thing that becomes terrifying or destructive to its maker.

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