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Getting it wrong | Posters


The experts don't always get it right

Some consolation for the creative genius.

'The Americans may have need of the telephone but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.' Sir William Preece, chief engineer of the General Post Office in Britain

'It must be accepted as a principle that the rifle, effective as it is, cannot replace the effect produced by the speed of the horse, the magnetism of the charge and the terror of cold steel.' British Cavalry Training Manual, 1907

'It does not meet the fundamental technical requirements of a motorcar.' Lord Rootes, on taking the Volkswagen factory and designs as war reparations in 1946. Over the next 58 years more than 21 million Volkswagen Beetles were sold.

‘Everything that can be invented has been invented.’ Charles Duell, Commissioner US Patent Office 1899

‘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

‘Drill for Oil? You mean drill in the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy.’ Response reported by Edwin Drake as he tried to hire workmen who knew oil just bubbled out of the ground in 1895

‘Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.’ Marechal Foch, Professor of Strategy, at the French War Studies College

‘No flying machine will ever fly from New York to Paris.’ Orville Wright

The provenance of all these quotes has not been checked

From – the website for writers

© 2003