Nobody knows this, but my sixth cousin five times removed, Eliezer McDonald, invented the recliner chair back in 1830.
Eliezer patented his first model in 1830, but he wasn’t very successful with it. It was merely an armchair that you turned into a recliner by lowering the back of the chair onto the floor while the person who wanted to recline was sitting in it. There were drawbacks to the design. For one thing, it required a second person who didn’t mind acting as “pusher” to lower a chair with someone in it. There was also the inevitable bang when the chair hit the floor. Many customers objected to that, saying that it scared the stuffing out of them and made them bounce and turn backward somersaults if they weren’t holding onto the chair hard enough. The third biggest objection was that it was awkward and undignified for the sitting person to get out of the chair should the pusher decide to leave the room and not come back. It was doubly awkward if the sitter had to pee. After a couple of embarrassing accidents, most people opted not to try to recline anymore, and new customers refused to pay the inflated prices that Eliezer was charging for his chairs.
Stuck with a warehouse full of chairs, Eliezer spent many sleepless weeks trying to think of a way to upgrade his invention to make it less impossible to use. He came up with the idea of hanging a strong rope from the ceiling, looping one end of it into a hangman’s noose and slipping the back of the chair into the loop, thereby holding it in a reclining position. That didn’t go over very well, either. It was hard to persuade any customer to set up a hangman’s noose in the living room. It was a good conversation piece, but it tended to cause the neighbors to stay away.
In the meantime, other inventors were coming up with actual workable recliner chair models and becoming rich from the sales. Convinced that they had stolen his idea, Eliezer spent ten years suing recliner chair manufacturers in court. He kept this up until he exhausted all his appeals and his last judge told him to stop being stupid and get a life.
Eliezer became a broken man and never tried to invent anything else. In the meantime, he won a million dollars playing an illegal lottery and spent the rest of his sad life in luxury.