Quiz on inventors and inventions

Joy Bhattacharjya | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on February 10, 2017


February 11 is the birth anniversary of Thomas Alva Edison, the wizard of Menlo Park who held over a thousand patents. Not surprisingly, this quiz is about inventors and their inventions.

1 To start with, a question on Edison. Which global conglomerate originally had Edison’s name preceding it before JP Morgan forced Edison out of his own company?

2 This is a list of just some of the inventions credited to which fictional character? Submarine car, Boombox rocket launcher, guns coded to a particular person’s palmprint, a wristwatch laser and X-ray vision glasses?

3 Speedo’s LZR swimsuit caused 13 world records to be broken in 2008. The suits were actually a spin-off benefit from which research facility?

4 Swim Fins, the octant measuring instrument, the circulating stove, mail order catalogues, and the flexible catheter are some of the lesser-known inventions of which prolific 18th-century genius?

5 Walter Linderer is also independently credited with this invention, but American John Hetrick was the person to first register this patent. This device, which saves thousands of lives each year, was designed using Hetrick’s experiences with compressed air from torpedoes when he served in the navy.

6 What did Otti Frederick Rohwedder invent, first used by the Chillicothe Baking Company, which should have his name popping up every time a popular phrase is used?

7 What did film producer and aviator Howard Hughes design that was first used by Jane Russell in the film The Outlaw?

8 Which American film actor was awarded a patent for a special design of bucket seats used by him in a 1968 action film?

9 Canadian Donald Hings originally designed this product for his company CM&S in 1937. He called it a “packset”, but by what name did it become commonly known? Still used, especially in events.

10 Name the father and son credited with the design of the first ever metal rockets in the 1780s; the design inspired the British Congreve rocket used extensively in the Napoleonic wars?


1. General Electric, originally called Edison General Electric. Edison was forced out after his stance against the inventors of alternating current, which was becoming far more popular than the direct current his devices used

2. Major Boothroyd, better known as Q, who would equip James Bond for his missions

3. NASA’s space research; they were designed in the Langley Research wind tunnels to reduce maximum drag

4. Benjamin Franklin. He also invented the lightning rod, lending libraries and bifocal lenses while serving as the Postmaster General of the US and taking out a popular almanac

5. The airbag. Interestingly, Hetrick gained very little from his patent, as he registered it in 1951 and most of its commercial usage in cars started from the ’70s when the 20-year patent period had expired

6. Sliced bread. Otto designed the first automatic bread-slicing machine. Certainly the greatest invention since...

7. The cantilever bra, which attracted a lot of interest for the film. Russell later claimed that it was very uncomfortable and she quietly stopped using it during the filming

8. Steve McQueen; the film was Bullitt, legendary for its car chases

9. The ‘walkie-talkie’

10. Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. After Tipu’s defeat in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War, the British took home the designs to create their own version

Joy Bhattacharjya is a quizmaster and Project Director, FIFA U-17 World Cup

Follow Joy on Twitter @joybhattacharj

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Published on February 10, 2017
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