Did they really say that?

Posted by J Matthew Buchanan at May 20, 2005 09:37 AM

Its Friday.  Let’s have some fun.

Here are some famous quotes about technology.  The person behind each and every one, as I think you will agree, would have benefited from a little rethinking before uttering their famous quip:

  • 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.
  • Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” – Lord William Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.
  • No flying machine will ever fly from New York to Paris.” – Orville Wright.
  • Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” – H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.
  • Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.” – Pierre Pachet, professor of physiology at Toulouse, 1872.
  • The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value.  Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?” – David Sarnoff’s associates, responding to his interest in investing in radio in the 1920s.

These are my two absolute favorites:

  • Everything that can be invented has been invented.” – Charles H. Duell, commissioner of the U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.
  • There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” – Ken Olsen, president of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.


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Ben Says:

May 20, 2005 03:20 PM

In the case of the Charles H. Duell quote, he did not really say that.

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