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"The little-known stories behind well-known inventions"

Test your knowledge of inventions with this quiz          By Paul Niemann

[April 12, 2007]  Back by popular demand from our readers, the Education Division here at Invention Mysteries World Headquarters presents you with another quiz. The questions are based on the stories that have appeared in this column over the past three months.

The answers appear at the end of the quiz. Remember, there are no trick questions -- but there may be a few tricky answers.

1. In 10 A.D., Roman engineer Julius Sextus Frontinus said, "Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope for further developments." What was his occupation?

  1. Engineer
  2. Map maker
  3. Patent commissioner
  4. Philosopher

(See article.)

2. An amateur medical researcher with nationwide name recognition in his other profession co-invented the perfusion pump. This pump kept the heart and other organs alive outside of the body during surgery, and later made open heart surgery possible. His name was:

  1. Charles Emerson Winchester III
  2. Charles Nelson Reilly
  3. Charles Lindbergh
  4. None of the above

(See article.)

3. True or false: The inventor of model trains was Joshua Lionel Cowen.

(See article.)

4. Cowan also invented an "electric flowerpot," which he gave to a friend who marketed it as the flashlight. His friend's new company was:

  1. Eveready Battery
  2. Panasonic Battery
  3. Duracell Battery
  4. ACME Flashlight Company

(See article.)

5. The symbol signifies a:

  1. Registered trademark
  2. Copyright
  3. Patent
  4. Trade secret, such as the recipe for Coca-Cola

(See article.)

6. Typewriter inventor Christopher Sholes and Ferris wheel inventor George Ferris were both born on which February holiday?

  1. Valentine's Day
  2. Valentine's Day
  3. Valentine's Day
  4. Any of the above

(See article.)

[to top of second column]

7. Ruth Handler, inventor of the Barbie doll, named the doll after her daughter. For whom did she name the Barbie doll's plastic boyfriend, Ken? (Ruth Handler was also one of the first female CEOs in our country's history.)

  1. Her son, Ken
  2. Her husband, Ken
  3. Her brother, Ken
  4. There was no one in particular named Ken. She just happened to like the name.

(See article.)

8. While working on developing the incandescent light bulb, Thomas Edison once remarked that he hadn't failed 10,000 times, but rather that he discovered 10,000 ways that will not work! How many times did he fail?

  1. 10,000
  2. 1,000
  3. 100
  4. None of the above

(See article.)

9. The popsicle, television and earmuffs have something in common. They were each invented by:

  1. Left-handers
  2. Foreign-born American citizens
  3. Kids
  4. All of the above

(See article.)

10. Water skis and the calculator have something in common. They were each invented by:

  1. Left-handers
  2. Foreign-born American citizens
  3. Kids
  4. Left-handed foreign-born American citizens between the ages of 11 and 19

(See article.)


1. Engineer; 2. Charles Lindbergh; 3. True (full name: Joshua Lionel Cowen); 4. Eveready Battery; 5. Registered trademark; 6. Any of the above; 7. Her son, Ken; 8. 10,000; 9. Kids; 10. Kids.

Paul Niemann may be reached at

Copyright Paul Niemann 2007

[Text from file received from Paul Niemann]

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