Thomas Edison: Illuminating Inventor

Estimated Completion Time
3 min
Thomas Edison: Illuminating Inventor
Image: youtube

About This Quiz

Thomas Edison is famous as an American inventor. But he didn't just create a few handy doodads. His incredible ideas transformed life for humanity. How much do you know about Edison and his famous work?
What is Thomas Edison best known for doing?
surveying
inventing
Edison is America's most famous inventor. He filed more than 1,000 patents during his prolific career.
hooking

Advertisement

Edison became well know for his intellectual capabilities. What sort of educational background did he have?
what's school?
He was a terrible student, and he dropped out at a young age. His mother dedicated much of her time to teaching him.
high school diploma
two Master's degrees

Advertisement

Edison is one of the most famous men in American history. Where did he grow up?
Michigan
He was born in Ohio in 1847. But his family moved when he was young, meaning he was mostly raised in Michigan.
New York
California

Advertisement

What was Edison's childhood nickname?
"Al"
His middle name was Alva. But everyone just called him "Al."
"Eddie"
"Fluffy"

Advertisement

What physical disability plagued Edison throughout his life?
poor hearing
He was sick as a child and his hearing suffered following numerous ear infections (and perhaps at the hands of a physically abusive adult). He considered himself to be nearly deaf.
poor eyesight
poor balance

Advertisement

How did Edison receive his first real exposure to telegraph technology?
at a war office
on the railroad
Edison began working for the Grand Trunk Railroad and observed men using telegraph machines for communication. He learned the technology and eventually was hired for the job.
in a bank

Advertisement

Edison drove his elementary school teacher crazy. Why?
couldn't sit still
asked too many questions
Edison was insanely curious, constantly asking questions about everything. His teacher lost patience with him, but fortunately, Edison's mother entertained all of his inquiries and developed his curiosity.
drew pictures of naked ladies

Advertisement

Telegraphs were important tools for 19th-century railroad companies. How did a young person like Edison manage to learn the systems?
took classes
paid for the opportunity
saved a man's son
He saved a railroad's worker toddler from the wheels of a train. The man repaid Tom's heroism by giving him lessons on the telegraph, an event that changed Edison's life.

Advertisement

What was his first invention?
electric vote recorder
He invented a type of electric vote recorder. Unfortunately, the idea completely bombed. He decided then to move to New York City.
an electric chair
electric calculator

Advertisement

Many people called Edison a genius. What did he say was an important element of so-called genius?
persistence
He scoffed at the idea that he was a born genius. He credited his success to persistence and common sense.
illegal drugs
genetics

Advertisement

Edison married a woman named Mary in 1871. Why did their marriage end?
she died
Mary had three children with Edison. She died in 1884, at the age of 29, perhaps due to a brain tumor.
Thomas cheated on her
she disappeared

Advertisement

Edison was a fabulous inventor but a terrible businessman.
true
false
Edison was not only a whip-smart inventor, but he was savvy in business, too. He was constantly finding new ways to maximize the profits from his creations.

Advertisement

Edison invented the quadruplex telegraph, which did what?
essentially worked as a walkie-talkie
electrocuted intruders
sent messages in both directions on one wire
Early telegraphs were limited in the quantity of messages they could transmit. With the quadruplex telepgraph, two messages could be sent simultaneously in both directions on a single wire.

Advertisement

Which company bought his quadruplex telegraph technology?
Union Pacific
Western Union
Western Union, the company famous for wired money transfers, bought the technology. They gave Edison around $10,000, which was a princely sum in the late 1800s.
Wells Fargo

Advertisement

As an adult, Edison earned which nickname?
"The Mage of Modern America"
"The Wizard of Menlo Park"
His fantastic inventions earned him the nickname "The Wizard of Menlo Park," because he created many of his ideas in Menlo Park, New Jersey.
"The Magician of Manhattan"

Advertisement

What was the invention that first established Edison as a noteworthy inventor?
telegraph repeater
light bulb
phonograph
In 1877, he developed the first phonograph. His version was the first ever to reproduce pre-recorded sounds.

Advertisement

After the tragic death of his wife Mary, Edison remained single for the rest of his life.
true
false
Less than two years after Mary's death, Edison married again, this time to a 20-year-old woman named Mina. He was 39 at the time.

Advertisement

Edison engaged in a "War of Currents" against which man?
Alexander Graham Bell
George Westinghouse
Edison fought with George Westinghouse in the War of Currents, in which each man touted different standards for the transmission of electricity.
Nikola Tesla

Advertisement

How did Edison propose to his second wife, Mina?
using smoke signals
with Morse code
He shared his knowledge of Morse code with her. Then he proposed to her by using his fingers to tap his proposal on her hands. Cue groaning.
via telephone

Advertisement

Edison lost the War of Currents.
true
Edison stood by his DC (direct current) standard versus Westinghouse's AC (alternating current) standard. AC, of course, won the day. Edison gave up and eventually started his own AC company.
false

Advertisement

Edison "muckers" were charged with developing the technology behind what?
electrical wiring
bricks
In the 1890s, Edison set about making better bricks -- those that were porous enough to allow the passage of gasses but that wouldn't absorb liquids. The men who sorted through the mucky, dirty options were "muckers."
light bulbs

Advertisement

After Edison married Mina and had three children with her, how did the couple live?
frugally
extravagantly
Edison had money to burn and Mina wanted to live in the country. They bought a 29-room home and lived like royalty.
in a box (with lights)

Advertisement

Edison was a man of science. He did not believe in God.
true
false
He rejected fairy tale versions of God. But Edison steadfastly believed that there was a higher power of some sort.

Advertisement

Edison's father was a smart man. He paid his son to do what?
play in traffic
read books
Samuel Edison knew that education was paramount to a good life. He paid Thomas a dime for every classic book he completed.
pick up sticks in the yard

Advertisement

In 1878, Edison patented which invention?
light bulb
It was 1878 when Edison's experiments with incandescent lighting paid off. He found a way to make carbonized filaments that provided many hours of light at low voltage.
reusable phonograph
telephone microphone

Advertisement

In the late 1800s, Edison developed the Kinetograph, which was essentially what?
a movie camera
The Kinetograph was ultimately a type of movie camera, one that laced many still images into an illusion of motion. The accompanying viewing instrument was called the Kinetoscope.
a lie detector
a surveying tool

Advertisement

By the end of his life, Edison was almost totally deaf. What did he say that he missed the most due to the condition?
singing birds
Edison was enraptured by the singing of birds. He amassed a collection of thousands of singing birds, and he greatly enjoyed their songs.
children's voices
Metallica

Advertisement

In 1901, Edison formed a company that created which product?
batteries
1901 saw the formation of the Edison Storage Battery Company. Edison's advances in alkaline battery technology still reverberate today.
condoms
synthetic rubber

Advertisement

Edison's inventions literally changed the world. How did he die?
stroke
diabetes
Thomas struggled with diabetes and complications from the disease killed him in 1931 at the age of 84. He was buried on his own property.
murder

Advertisement

Finish this Edison quote. "Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent WHAT?"
persistence
perspiration
He was a believer in the power of hard work. He said, "Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration."'
pontification

Advertisement

You Got:
/30
Featured