Adolphe Sax Almost Died 6 Times Before Inventing the Saxophone

One of the world's most well known instruments almost never was. Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone, nearly died at least six times as a child, years before he created his most famous instrument. Sax was born as Antonine Joseph Sax in Belgium on November 6, 1814, and was known to be accident prone in his youth. "He’s a child condemned to misfortune; he won’t live," his mother once said. He was nicknamed, "little Sax, the ghost." According to, "His childhood was tragic. Hardly able to stand, Antoine-Joseph fell from a height of three floors, seriously bumping his head against a stone: he was believed dead. At the age of three, he swallowed a bowl of vitriolized water, and then a pin. Later, he was seriously burned in a gunpowder explosion; he fell onto a cast iron frying pan and burned himself on one side. ... He escaped poisoning and asphyxiation in his bedroom, where varnished items were lying about during the night. Another time, he was hit on the head by a cobblestone; he fell into a river and was saved by the skin of his teeth." Despite the near death experiences, Sax survived his youth, learning about instrument design from his parents along the way. By the time he was a teenager he had designed his own instruments. He moved to Paris, where he would secure a patent for the saxophone in 1846. Sax lived to be 79, and is being celebrated by Google with a Doodle on November 6, 2015, the day that would have been his 201st birthday. Click through the gallery to see more photos of Sax and learn more about his life. (Photo via Wikipedia Commons)