Francis Edgar Stanley
- Year of Death: 1918
- Experiment: Test Driving His Automobile
- Cause of Death: Automobile Crash
Francis Edgar Stanley invented the Stanley Steamer Automobile. He and his twin brother founded the Stanley Motor Carriage Company, which is “officially” credited with inventing the automobile. Francis actually patented the first photographic airbrush, which he used to colorize photos. He also invented a device for coating dry plates in mass portions. The photography business was doing well, resulting in $1 million in sales. This is equal to about $20 million today, adding in inflation.
Yet he and his brother left photography due to their interest in automobiles. They sold their dry plate business to George Eastman of Eastman-Kodak. Yes, that Kodak. Stanley’s automobile company started off well with their automobile. Although there are conflicting reports on if he was test-driving his automobile or simply just driving it, Francis died when he crashed the automobile into a woodpile. He was attempting to avoid farm wagons that were traveling on each side of him on the road.