There are some odd predictions about some events, such as
"Man will never reach the moon regardless of all future scientific advances."
--Dr. Lee De Forest, "Father of Radio & Grandfather of Television."
"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible,"
--Lord Kelvin, President, Royal Society, 1895.
"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value,"
--Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de
"The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives."
--Admiral William Leahy , US Atomic Bomb Project
"There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom."
--Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1923
"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons."
--Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers ."
--Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943 [Oddly enough it was IBM that also
saw little use for what became the Xerox copy machine many decades later
and refused to fund its development. Bob]
"The super computer is technologically impossible. It would take all
of the water that flows over Niagara Falls to cool the heat generated by
the number of vacuum tubes required."
--Professor of Electrical Engineering, New York University
"But what is it good for?"
--Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968,
commenting on the microchip.
"640K ought to be enough for anybody."
--Bill Gates, 1981
"I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and
talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing
is a fad that won't
----The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957.
"I don't know what use any one could find for a machine that would
make copies of documents. It certainly couldn't be a feasible business by
--the Head of IBM, refusing to back the idea, forcing the inventor to found
"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay
for a message sent to nobody in particular?"
--David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the
radio in the 1920s.
"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as
a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us,"
--Western Union internal memo, 1876.
"The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn
better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible,"
--A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper
proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found
Federal Express Corp)
"I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face and not
--Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in "Gone
With The Wind."
"A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say
America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make,"
--Response to Debbi Fields' idea of starting Mrs. Fields' Cookies.
"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out."
--Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.
"If I had thought about it, I wouldn't have done the experiment. The
literature was full of examples that said you can't do this,"
--Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3-M "Post-It"
"Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil?
--Drillers who Edwin L Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for
oil in 1859.
"Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau."
--Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.
"Everything that can be invented has been invented,"
--Charles H Duell, Commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899.
"Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction."
--Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse , 1872.
"The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the
intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon,"
-- Sir John Eric Ericksen, British Surgeon, appointed Surgeon - Extraordinary
to Queen Victoria 1873.
And last but not least...
"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
--Ken Olson, President, Chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp, 1977