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6 Evil Inventions Actually Made With Good Intentions

What are some of the most evil inventions you know of?

You’re probably thinking of the nuclear bomb, the electric chair, or cigarettes. While these examples still stand as some of the worst inventions ever created, today we’ll talk about those that were actually made with good intentions but turned evil.

When it comes to inventions, there’s a bright side and a bad side. The good part is that it’s entirely possible for someone to change the world with the power of their mind. The bad part is that odds are the invention won’t be as it was envisioned.

History is full of evil inventions that were made with good intentions. Keep reading to find out more!

evil inventions
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1. Leaded petrol

Back in the early 20th century, industrialization was the pillar of human progress, and the environment was considered solely a space for another factory. A significant part of humanity’s steady march toward environmental damage was the discovery of tatraethyllead, which is a lead-based compound.

When mixed with gasoline, tatraethyllead was found to increase octane levels and help reduce motor knocks in cars at the time. It was seen as a miracle substance that would soon be used in cars all over the world. However, hindsight now shows us that lead petrol was one of the most evil inventions ever.

For more than 70 years (and still in some parts of the world today), cars were emitting high amounts of noxious fumes that were inhaled by tens of millions of people across the globe. Children were particularly at risk, and in some countries—India, for example—governments estimated that up to half of all children had suffered some form of brain damage from inhaling lead fumes.

We still don’t know the exact effects of leaded gasoline on people, but the damage was global. British chemist Derek Bryce-Smith was the first to warn about the dangers of leaded petrol in 1954, but his ideas were dismissed at the time. However, his warnings eventually gained traction.

Leaded petrol is now considered one of the most evil inventions ever made and is illegal in most of the world today.

2. Trinitrotoluene (TNT)

No. 2 on our list of evil inventions that had a different purpose when made is trinitrotoluene, also known as TNT. When German chemist Joseph Wilbrand created TNT in 1863, his purpose was to make a honey-colored yellow dye meant to be used in clothing. But his work would have turned into one of the most evil inventions ever made.

For several years, TNT’s explosive qualities were rather overlooked, and in the UK, the compound was even removed from the Explosive Act as it was pretty insensitive and hard to blow up. However, it was this insensitivity that made it one of the most commonly used explosives throughout World Wars I and II.

For instance, at the Battle of Jutland, which happened in 1916, the German army used explosives filled with TNT and featuring a specially designed fuse. This innovation ended up causing much more damage than old-fashioned Lyddite explosives. While these ones blew up upon contact with the outside part of the enemy ship, the TNT-filled explosives only exploded once they penetrated the ship.

After this battle, TNT’s use in military weaponry only increased, and it went on to be used in most explosive equipment in World War II. To think that one of the most evil inventions was made after a guy decided to dye his clothes yellow…

the internet of things
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3. The Internet of Things (IoT)

Have you heard of the Internet of Things? Well, if you don’t, you’re about to learn some things about one of the most evil inventions ever made. Aside from its meaningless and vague moniker, the idea of hooking up every electronic device and appliance in your home to the internet seems like a great one.

The Internet of Things, or smart technology, allows you to watch your home security over your phone, control your house thermostat using your phone while you’re out, or use a smart fridge to… wait, why would anyone need a smart fridge? Oh, right, to see what food you have in your fridge without having to open its door.

Any device connected to your home WiFi network poses a security threat if you have a weak password on your router (we’ve all done that at least once). While the number of hack attacks has gone down in the past few years, there’s still a risk you should be aware of.

In December 2014, more than 750,000 Wi-Fi devices were hacked and used to send out millions of spam emails. Things get worse with security cameras, smart webcams, and baby monitors.

Last year, a Russian site was able to show live footage from more than 70,000 hacked cameras in people’s houses as a way of demonstrating how easy it is to manipulate a device in the so-called Internet of Things.

This being said, make sure you have a strong password!

Keep reading to discover other evil inventions that killed millions of people!

4. Nuclear fusion

Humanity’s complicated relationship with nuclear power is perfectly described in “Game of Thrones,” and Danaerys Targaryen’s relationship with her dragon; it’s a game-changing force once you exploit its power, but likely to really mess things up on a huge scale if left unchecked.

When nuclear power does its thing, it does it nicely, producing more energy than the more common natural or coal gas plants, virtually no carbon emissions, and only a small amount of waste, which gets put in radiation-proof containers and hidden away (at least that’s what we’re told).

Obviously, things can go very wrong with nuclear fusion. As we witnessed with Fukushima and Chernobyl, large-scale leaks of nuclear waste can lead to widespread, long-term damage to people. In the aftermath of the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, humankind appeared to understand that it’s not cool to drop weapons of this type on people.

Now that’s definitely one of the most evil inventions ever made… If you want to learn more about Chernobyl, this miniseries is known to be one of the best fictionalized versions of the 1986 disaster.

Photo by Rauf_Karimov from Shutterstock

5. The loudspeaker

Made in 1915 by Danish inventor Peter Laurids Jensen, the loudspeaker was a pretty wonderful invention. Well, it still is today, but at a certain point, it proved to be one of the most evil inventions ever made.

The loudspeaker (then called the Magnovox) was originally used to play opera music to a huge crowd in San Francisco. Two decades later, the invention would have played a key role in bringing the Nazi party to power in Germany.

We won’t include the loudspeaker in the list of evil inventions without acknowledging the nice things it has created, such as nightclubs and festivals. However, it’s only fair to agree that the most devastating and yet effective use of the loudspeaker was by the Nazi party.

Joseph Goebbels was the one who proposed spreading loudspeakers around public places so that no one could escape the announcements and speeches of Hitler and the Third Reich. It was only after this idea started being implemented, the Nazis gained majority support in Germany.

6. Zyklon B

Last but not least on our list of evil inventions, we have Zyklon B. The deadly gas infamously used in Nazi concentration camps to kill about one million people was invented in Germany, but around a decade before the Nazi party came to power.

Zyklon B had a predecessor (Zyklon A), which was a toxic pesticide that released hydrogen cyanide upon exposure to heat and water. Since the pesticide shared many similarities to the deadly gas used by the Germans in World War I, it ended up being banned.

Nevertheless, in 1922, the German chemical company Degesch discovered a way to package Zyklon into canisters so people wouldn’t inhale it. The resulting product was named Zyklon B, which was then used to delouse clothing and disinfect areas such as trucks, ships, and other cargo vessels.

Years later, Zyklon B would have turned into one of the most evil inventions ever made as the German army decided to use it to kill its enemies. The rest is one of the most horrible episodes in human history.

If you liked our list of evil inventions, you may also want to read Top 6 Biggest Science Fails You Must See.


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