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• “I think there’s a world market for about 5 computers.”
( Thomas J. Watson, Chairman of the Board, IBM, circa 1948 )
• “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.”
( Ken Olson, President, Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977 )
• "Transmission of documents via telephone wires is possible in principle, but the apparatus required is so expensive that it will never become
a practical proposition."
( Dennis Gabor, British physicist and author of Inventing the Future, 1962 )
• "There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio service inside the United States."
( T. Craven, FCC Commissioner, 1961
(the first commercial communications satellite went into service in 1965)
• Space travel is bunk."
( Sir Harold Spencer Jones, Astronomer Royal of the UK, 1957
(two weeks later Sputnik orbited the Earth)
• "To place a man in a multi-stage rocket and project him into the controlling gravitational field of the moon where the passengers can make scientific observations, perhaps land alive, and then return to earth--all that constitutes a wild dream worthy of Jules Verne. I am bold enough to say that such a man-made voyage will never occur regardless of all future advances."
( Lee deForest, American radio pioneer and inventor of the vacuum tube, 1957 )
• Space travel is utter bilge."
( Dr. Richard van der Reit Wooley, UK space advisor to the government, 1956
(Sputnik orbited the Earth the following year)
• "Television won't last because people will soon get tired of staring at
a plywood box every night."
( Darryl Zanuck, movie producer, 20th Century Fox, 1946 )
• "That is the biggest fool thing we have ever done [research on]... The bomb will never go off, and I speak as an expert in explosives."
( William D. Leahy, U.S. Admiral, advising President Truman on atomic weaponry, 1944 )
• "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?"
( H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, maker of silent movies, 1927 )
• "The radio craze will die out in time."
( Thomas Edison, American inventor, 1922 )
• "Professor Goddard does not know the relation between action and reaction and the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react. He seems to lack the basic knowledge ladled out daily in high schools."
( New York Times editorial about Robert Goddard's revolutionary rocket work, 1921
(note that the day after Armstrong walked on the moon in 1969, the New York
Times printed a short boxed item on page 2. It read in full:
"Errata: It has now been conclusively demonstrated that a rocket ship can
travel through the vacuum of space. The Times sincerely regrets the error.")
• "Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value."
( Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre, 1904(?)
• "The horse is here to stay, the automobile is only a fad."
( Advice of President of Michigan Savings Bank to Horace Rackham, lawyer for
Henry Ford, 1903
(Rackham ignored the advice and invested $5000 in Ford stock, selling it later
for $12.5 million)
• "Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever."
( Thomas Edison, American inventor, 1889
(Edison often ridiculed the arguments of competitor George Westinghouse for AC power)
• "Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy."
( Drillers whom Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil, 1859 )
• "What, sir, would you make a ship sail against the wind and currents by lighting a bonfire under her deck? I pray you, excuse me, I have not the time to listen to such nonsense."
( Napoleon Bonaparte, when told of Robert Fulton's steamboat, 1800s )