Weird History Readers Share What They Think Are The Worst Inventions Humans Ever Made

Voting Rules
Vote up the inventions you wish had never been made.

Humans seem to have an instinctual desire to create and invent. Many of humanity’s inventions have gone on to have tremendously beneficial impacts on the quality of life for untold millions of people. Others, however, have become synonymous with destruction, death, and destruction, earning themselves a place on the list of things which should never have been invented.

 Weird History fans and commenters, particularly those on Facebook, have weighed in with their thoughts on which manmade inventions are things we collectively wish didn’t exist. Be sure to vote to show which of these inventions are the worst that were ever made.

  • 1
    808 VOTES

    Nerve Gas

    From Facebook commenterJeff Grabb:

    Pretty much all of the nerve gasses created for chemical weapons stockpiles would be my suggestion? As if chlorine gas and other things wasn’t bad enough…nerve agents are just straight up nightmare fuel…

    Context: The first nerve agents were actually discovered by accident. German scientists were trying to find alternative forms of insecticides. In the process, they discovered two toxic substances, tabun and sarin, both of which were turned over to the Nazis.

    808 votes
  • 2
    800 VOTES

    Agent Orange

    From Facebook commenter John Harrison

    Agent orange. If you had a disease caused by it you'd understand.

    Context: Agent Orange was used during the Vietnam War, particularly from 1962 to 1971. Though originally an herbicide, it has been associated with a number of health disorders.  

    800 votes
  • Atomic Bombs
    Photo: US Department of Defense / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain
    902 VOTES

    Atomic Bombs

    From Facebook commenter Kayla Lahaie:

    Although the atomic bomb opened up new technologies it was also our most horrible invention [along with] chemical weapons …

    Context: Though nuclear fission, the process which enabled the creation of the atomic bomb, was uncovered in Germany in the 1930s, it was fully explored by the Manhattan Project in the US during the 1940s. In 1945, scientists detonated the first atomic bomb in the New Mexico desert. 

    902 votes
  • Single Use Plastics
    Photo: Venkat2336 / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0
    1,022 VOTES

    Single Use Plastics

    From Facebook commenter Sherrie Winstead

    Single use plastics such as plastic cups, plates, bowls and especially grocery bags. The sight of a sea turtle entangled in a plastic grocery bag & dying on the bottom of the sea floor, saddens & angers me.

    Context: The single-use plastic bag was designed by Swedish scientist Sten Gustaf Thulin in 1965. Its use soon spread worldwide, and in 1982 two major US chains–Kroger and Safeway–switched to single-use plastic bags. 

    1,022 votes
  • 5
    983 VOTES

    From Facebook commenter Chris Hargreaves

    The cigarette. Smoking only benefits the person actually smoking, while negatively affecting everyone around them. And before people say it's an addiction, so is caffeine. But "me" drinking a can of Coke next to you won't give "you" diabetes. But someone smoking next to me WILL contribute to me developing lung cancer.

    Context: Cigarettes are believed to have been invented in the 19th century, though smoking tobacco as a practice preceded this particular form. Though once enormously popular, cigarettes have become less popular throughout Europe and the US as their negative health impacts have become more largely understood. 

    983 votes
  • From Facebook commenter Steve Goon:

    High Fructose Corn Syrup. HFCS is a leading contributor to Americans' obesity (along with our poor eating habits, lack of excercise [sic], need for "easy"/fast foods, and general lack of self discipline).

    Context: High fructose was invented by Richard O. Marshall and Earl R. Kooi. They did so in 1957, having generated a new enzyme capable of transforming glucose into fructose. Given the higher cost of sugar, it quickly became a key part of many processed foods and soft drinks. 

    780 votes