We have all been there. You think that one thing will happen, and something completely different happens instead. Everyone makes the wrong call at some point. It happens to the best of us and, sadly, will continue to happen, no matter how smart we think we are. Even experts in every field you can possibly imagine have said things that turned out to be completely false, much to the amusement of the public and the experts’ competitors. Here are twenty predictions that were made by experts, but that turned out to be hopelessly inaccurate.

The New York Times

“A rocket will never be able to leave Earth’s atmosphere.” The New York Times published that sentence in 1936, and just three decades later, they were kicking themselves. To be fair, at the time, plenty of people thought the race to space was a hoax. These days, NASA is one of the most respected and recognizable government funded organizations in the world.

Erasmus Wilson

Anybody named “Erasmus” has got to be nerdy enough to know better than to say what Oxford Professor Erasmus Wilson said about electricity. In 1878, Wilson said “When the Paris Exhibition closes, electric light will close with it and no more will be heard of it.”


As Rock and Roll music was just beginning to appear on the scene, plenty of record labels and music review publications had their own opinions on the subject. Variety Magazine, though, had the most embarrassing quote, stating “it’ll be gone by June”. This was the Spring of 1955.

Sir William Preece

The Chief Engineer of the British Post Office was understandably disdainful of an invention that could put his precious courier service out of business. “The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.” A lot has changed in the UK since 1878.

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