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What's in a name? These inventors can tell you     Send a link to a friend

By Paul Niemann

[APRIL 8, 2004]  Regular readers of this column know that the staff here at the "Invention Mysteries" world headquarters likes to give out quizzes from time to time.

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I know what you're thinking … "Wow, he has an entire staff helping him write his column each week. And they must have offices all over the world because he just said that it comes from their world headquarters."

First, let's clear up both rumors (and I have no idea how they got started). It's a staff of two, and that's only if you include my dog, Patent. And this is the only office that "Invention Mysteries" has; I just think it gives us (the dog and I) more of an international flair by referring to a world headquarters.

Now, back to the quiz. The following inventors all have one thing in common: They had an invention named after them, for better or worse, whether they wanted it that way or not. The names of the inventors are shown first, followed by the clues. Each inventor's name is used only once. Good luck!



Walt Disney; Archimedes; Hippocrates; Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin; Samuel Morse; Melville Bissell; Teddy Roosevelt; Jethro Tull; Jacquard; Louis Braille; Charles Richter; Alfred Nobel; Ladislo Biro; Louis Pasteur; Robert Jarvik; Karl Pabst; Joseph Guillotin; Christian Andreas Doppler; Dom Pérignon; Elisha Otis.


1. On a scale from 1 to 10, his invention might measure a 6.5.

2. The first part of his oath says to “do no harm.”

3. People have been toasting this Frenchman since 1670.

4. This French physician's invention was an attempt to make executions more humane.

5. He has a mouse that's more than 70 years old.

6. This U.S. president was not an inventor, but he had an animal named after him.

7. This type of screw is capable of raising water and was invented by a Greek scientist and mathematician born in the third century B.C.

8. This 18th-century inventor of the seed drill had a 1970s band named after him.

9. This Frenchmen could really weave a yarn.

10. Blinded by an accident at age 3, this Frenchman invented a stereoscope, but that's not what made him famous.

11. The popularity of his invention went up in smoke when the Hindenburg crashed.


[to top of second column in this quiz]

12. His father was a friend of Noah Webster, of dictionary fame, and he was commissioned to paint President James Monroe as well as Eli Whitney. Oh, by the way, he also invented the telegraph and a well-known code.

13. This chemist was the logical choice for being the person who invented the process for purifying milk because his name sounds like a place where cows hang out.

14. Going up? This inventor will take you for a ride with his elevator safety brakes.

15. This inventor of dynamite also established the world's most famous peace prize.

16. When this inventor died, his wife became America's first female CEO rather than being “swept under the carpet” in sympathy.

17. This inventor could use his own invention to sign his patent applications.

18. It's a good thing this inventor didn't become a beer maker. His creation of the Jeep helped us win World War II.

19. He invented the artificial heart. The first one lasted only a couple of months, but it was still considered a success.

20. While he could not predict the future, he did show us how to forecast the weather.


1. Charles Richter; 2. Hippocrates; 3. Dom Pérignon; 4. Joseph Guillotin; 5. Walt Disney; 6. Teddy Roosevelt; 7. Archimedes; 8. Jethro Tull; 9. Jacquard (inventor of Jacquard's loom); 10. Louis Braille; 11. Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin; 12. Samuel Morse; 13. Louis Pasteur; 14. Elisha Otis; 15. Alfred Nobel; 16. Melville Bissell; 17. Ladislo Biro (inventor of the ballpoint pen); 18. Karl Pabst; 19. Robert Jarvik; 20. Christian Andreas Doppler

In case you were keeping score at home, here's your grade -- using a scale of 100 percent, 90 percent, etc.:

18- 20: A -- Congratulations! Thomas Edison would be proud.

16-17: B -- Keep trying.

14-15: C -- Better luck next time.

12-13: D -- Go back to the drawing board.

11 or fewer: F -- You'll do better once you start reading this column EVERY week.

[Paul Niemann]

"Invention Mysteries" is written each week by Paul Niemann. He can be reached at niemann7@inventionmysteries.com.

© Copyright Paul Niemann 2004

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