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Inventions Trivia

Inventions Trivia Quizzes

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13 Inventions quizzes and 125 Inventions trivia questions.
  Putting Inventions in Order   great trivia quiz  
Ordering Quiz
 10 Qns
Put these inventions of different kinds into the chronological order of their invention, starting with the earliest and ending with the most recent. Dates refer to when an invention became a reality, not to when it was first thought of.
Tough, 10 Qns, misstified, Feb 24 24
misstified gold member
Feb 24 24
354 plays
  Everything was Invented in China! editor best quiz   best quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Have you ever noticed that all ancient inventions were first developed in China, or so it seems? In this quiz we will attempt to discern which items truly were invented there in an authoritative sense....please enjoy and learn!
Difficult, 10 Qns, thejazzkickazz, Jul 31 10
thejazzkickazz gold member
11245 plays
  Since When Did Canada Invent Things?   top quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
In between games of hockey, servings of poutine, and bi-hourly beer runs, Canadians have a noteworthy history of inventing things you use. Take THAT, China!
Average, 10 Qns, kyleisalive, Sep 17 13
kyleisalive editor
2152 plays
  Great British Discoveries   great trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
This quiz features 10 questions on major scientific discoveries and inventions either made in the UK or by British scientists working elsewhere.
Average, 10 Qns, HCR1, Sep 28 13
2443 plays
  Roman Science and Invention editor best quiz   great trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 5 Qns
Roman science did not provide the modern world with many innovations, but here are a few examples of what the Romans were able to accomplish during the republican and imperial periods. Have fun!
Average, 5 Qns, thejazzkickazz, Feb 13 11
thejazzkickazz gold member
10025 plays
  Arizona: Science and Inventions 1912-2012   top quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
That dry desert air is good for the mind! Let's look at some of the scientific discoveries, experiments, and inventions that occurred in Arizona during its first century of statehood.
Average, 10 Qns, PDAZ, May 26 21
PDAZ gold member
May 26 21
502 plays
  Advance Australia... Scientifically!   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Poisonous creatures, the Great Barrier Reef, bushrangers, the outback, sports and arts - all topics that relate to Australia. But Aussies have also contributed many great scientific breakthroughs and inventions. Let's look at some of them!
Average, 10 Qns, MikeMaster99, Aug 12 14
MikeMaster99 gold member
723 plays
  Rotary Dial - What's That?    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
All tech gadgets go through the same cycle: from cutting edge to everyday to obsolete and perhaps even forgotten. If you're young, you may not have used some of these once-high-tech inventions.
Easier, 10 Qns, akg1486, Dec 16 18
Dec 16 18
544 plays
  Famous Lightbulb Moments   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
This quiz will illustrate how serendipity plays a role in scientific discovery and invention. It will discuss the "Wow" moment when the light bulb went on for the inventor/discoverer and the world was a better place for it.
Easier, 10 Qns, pdk42, Jun 15 13
1359 plays
  Greatest British Inventions: Part Two   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
In this quiz we continue to look at the creations of British inventors that have changed our world.
Average, 10 Qns, darksplash, Oct 09 20
Oct 09 20
341 plays
  Greatest British Inventions: Part Four    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
In part four of our series we complete our look at some of the greatest British inventions of the last 250 years.
Average, 10 Qns, darksplash, Dec 21 20
Dec 21 20
281 plays
  Greatest British Inventions: Part One    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
British inventors have been at the forefront of scientific and engineering developments for centuries. Here are 10 to investigate.
Average, 10 Qns, darksplash, Oct 06 20
Oct 06 20
418 plays
  Greatest British Inventions: Part Three    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
The ingenuity of British people appears to know no bounds. In this quiz we continue to look at the creations of Britons that changed our world.
Average, 10 Qns, darksplash, Dec 18 21
Dec 18 21
285 plays

Inventions Trivia Questions

1. Which 1914 invention by the Briton Ernest Swinton was to change the way wars were fought for ever?

From Quiz
Greatest British Inventions: Part Four

Answer: The tank

By 1914, wars between armies were well developed, but in a fixed pattern. They comprised ranks of soldier standing shooting against each other, sweeping cavalry charges and artillery barrages. Few individual battles lasted very long. All that changed on the Western Front in Europe when armies soon became bogged down -sometimes literally - in a war of attrition. The emerging era of the machine gun and barbed wire emplacements meant that armies could not move very far, or very fast. Edward Swinton came up with a weapon that was intended to make a breakthrough. He had seen the muddy wastes of no-man's land and the tiers of barbed in which movement was not easy. His answer was the 'Landship': to use the caterpillar tracks, that had been used by farmers for years, in a bullet-proof vehicle. In 1917, tanks were first deployed in action. That came in the Battle of Cambrai, and the shock to the German forces was enormous. But their effectiveness was blunted by inefficiency. They were slow and broke down readily. Of the 49 tanks deployed at Cambrai, only about half actually moved in a forward direction. New tanks were soon built, by both sides, but it is probably fair to say neither really exploited the new weapons. Yes, tanks could cross mud and barbed wire entrenchments, but often they got so far ahead of the infantry that their gains were temporary. Still, they changed warfare and it came to be accepted that tanks were an effective weapon, when used with infantry in close support, each providing cover for individual weaknesses. It is probably all due to the tank that no war since has been fought the way it was on the Western Front.

2. It was a light bulb moment: which Briton gave the world's first demonstration of a light bulb?

From Quiz Greatest British Inventions: Part Three

Answer: Joseph Swan

Thomas Edson is commonly credited with inventing the light bulb. However, in that same year, 1879, Joseph Swan gave a practical demonstration 10 months before Edison. Swan also patented the idea and won court cases protecting that patent in the United Kingdom. All of the answers were inventors who had something to do with lighting. Louis Hartman, an American, was the sole non-Briton listed.

3. Sometimes an idea takes a long time to perfect. What did British scientist Harry Brearley develop in 1913 that had first been suggested almost a century before?

From Quiz Greatest British Inventions: Part Two

Answer: Mass-produced stainless steel

French metallurgist Pierre Berthier came up with the idea of a corrosion-resistant iron-chromium alloy in 1821. It was not until 1913 that Harry Brearley developed a way of mass-producing items. Stainless steel went on to be used in a wide range of settings. It is prized for its resistance to corrosion, strength, and appearance. Stainless steel is an iron and chromium alloy. Other metals can be used with the iron, but the product must contain at least 10.5% chromium. By the way, aluminium cricket bats have been produced and tried - and banned under international rules.

4. In 1668, the reflecting telescope changed astronomy forever. It was the apple of one man's eye: who was that inventor?

From Quiz Greatest British Inventions: Part One

Answer: Isaac Newton

Before the reflecting telescope was the refracting telescope, which had limitations. Refracting telescopes use lenses to gather light, reflecting telescopes use mirrors. Mirrors do not cause chromatic aberration. Reflecting telescopes are cheaper and less unwieldy than their longer counterparts. Reflecting telescopes became more common over the past 100 years and, some argue are more powerful in any case. At the time this quiz was written, the world's largest reflecting telescope had a mirror of 10.4 metres diameter, but others of up to 39 metres were under planning.

5. The rotary dials in the quiz title were attached to telephones before they had key pads. They were used to transmit the digits you wanted to dial to the telephone exchange. But how did they work?

From Quiz Rotary Dial - What's That?

Answer: They sent a fixed number of electric pulses for each digit

You put your finger in the hole in the dial and turned it until you reached a stop. When you released it, a spring pulled it back and sent electrical pulses to the telephone exchange. In North America, there was one pulse for the digit "1", two for "2" and so on up to ten pulses for "0". But there were other solutions: in Sweden, it was instead one pulse for "0", two pulses for "1" and so on up to ten pulses for "9" and in New Zealand the number of pulses sent was ten minus the number dialled. The rotary dial was replaced by a system called dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) where each key on the key pad sent two tones: one for the row and one for the column.

6. The clear skies of Arizona have made it popular with astronomers. Which dwarf planet was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh while working at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff in 1930?

From Quiz Arizona: Science and Inventions 1912-2012

Answer: Pluto

Originally classified as a planet, Pluto was the only planet to have been discovered by an astronomer working in the U.S. It was reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006 when the International Astronomical Union formally established the definition of a planet, and Pluto didn't make the cut. Percival Lowell, for whom Lowell Observatory was named, had started a search for a planet beyond Neptune, and following his death, his brother A. Lawrence Lowell, financed the purchase of the telescope that would be used by Clyde Tombaugh (1906-1997) to make the discovery. Tombaugh was an amateur astronomer who had been hired because he impressed the staff of the observatory with his drawings of Jupiter and Mars; he didn't earn his degrees in astronomy until after he had discovered Pluto.

7. For many thousands of years Australian Aboriginals have used a simple but effective piece of technology called a 'woomera'. What, exactly, is a woomera?

From Quiz Advance Australia... Scientifically!

Answer: A spear-throwing device

A woomera is a spear-throwing device about three feet (one metre) long. It's a remarkably efficient device which effectively 'extends' the arm of the thrower. The extra energy gained from the woomera's use has been calculated as four times that from a compound bow. Question provided by tonye49.

8. While working at the University of Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory, Francis Crick and James Watson discovered the structure of DNA took what form?

From Quiz Great British Discoveries

Answer: Double helix

DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid is a molecule which contains genetic information and is present in all living organisms. Francis Crick and James Watson discovered the double helix structure of the DNA molecule on February 28 1953 after studying experimental data collected by Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins. In 1962 Crick, Watson and Wilkins were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in recognition of their work in discovering the structure of DNA.

9. Alexander Graham Bell is one of the names associated with this key item, mainly because he was the first to send in the patent for it back in 1876. What was his invention?

From Quiz Since When Did Canada Invent Things?

Answer: Telephone

Revolutionizing communication technology, Bell developed the patent for the telephone in Brantford, Ontario. Oddly, there's been much controversy as to whether or not Bell stole the idea from fellow inventor, U.S.-born Elisha Gray, who failed to file the patent ahead of Bell. The first phone call was made between Bell and his assistant, Thomas Watson, a year earlier. It comes as no surprise that one of Canada's largest telecommunications companies is named after the inventor: Bell Media.

10. The Tepula, Marcia, Alsietina and Anio Novus are names for which important construct of the Roman age?

From Quiz Roman Science and Invention

Answer: Aqueducts

The system of Roman aqueducts had a capacity to supply the city with 300 million gallons of water of the great engineering accomplishments of Roman times to be sure!

11. In July 1996, a team of scientists and researchers led by the Britons Keith Campbell and Ian Wilmut made a breakthrough in genetics by cloning the first living animal. What was the clone's name?

From Quiz Greatest British Inventions: Part Four

Answer: Dolly

Campbell and Wilmut were part of a research team at the Roslin Institute attached to Edinburgh University and looked at ways of cloning cells. Without blinding people with the science, they took cells from the udder of a six-year-old sheep and introduced them into eggs donated by other sheep. This resulted in just one live birth, Dolly, in July 1996. In case you are wondering, the name was chosen in honour of the singer Dolly Parton.

12. In 1820, the theory behind the electric motor was developed. However who was the Briton that, in 1821, turned theory into reality?

From Quiz Greatest British Inventions: Part Three

Answer: Michael Faraday

Faraday was a physicist and chemist who experimented with electromagnetism and was the first to produce an electric current from a magnetic field. He also invented the first electric motor and dynamo. Faraday, at one time, was an assistant to Sir Humphrey Davy and learnt a lot about chemistry from him. In 1820 Hans Christian Ørsted and André-Marie Ampère individually came up with theories around electric current, but it was Faraday, the following year, who came up with the first working electric motor to turn electrical energy into mechanical energy.

13. In 1856 the British scientist Henry Bessemer made a breakthrough that could probably be regarded as one of the most important of the Industrial Revolution. What did his 'Bessemer Process' achieve?

From Quiz Greatest British Inventions: Part Two

Answer: Turned pig iron into steel

Iron has long been known about and was important to the newly industrialising countries of the 19th Century. But steel is stronger and better. For 200 years after Bessemer, steel has been the material to turn to for strength, reliability, and adaptability. It remains important, although newer products that are lighter and stronger are taking over, particularly in the aviation and automotive industries.

14. By now we all know that the first mass-produced toothbrush was invented by William Addis, but what was he doing when he was captivated by the thought?

From Quiz Greatest British Inventions: Part One

Answer: Serving a jail term

Sometime between 1770 and 1778, Addis was in jail for causing a riot. At that time it struck him that the existing method of cleaning teeth with a rag and soot was ineffective and he came up with an alternative. While in prison he began to work on his toothbrush invention. After drilling small holes in a cattle bone, he tied pig flesh fibres into bunches and passed them through the holes where they were glued together, The company he founded, Wisdom, was still going strong well into the 21st Century.

15. For a long time, almost all cars running on gasoline had carburetors. What was the purpose of them?

From Quiz Rotary Dial - What's That?

Answer: To mix air and fuel droplets

Gasoline (petrol) doesn't burn easily or effectively unless it's dispersed into tiny droplets and mixed with air. Too few droplets in the mix and the engine starves; too many and the engine can't burn all of them. The role of the carburetor was to mix the fuel with air in a correct mixture. That mix can then be sucked into the cylinder, be compressed by the piston and ignited by the spark plug. Today, the technology used for this purpose is the fuel injector that uses high pressure and a nozzle to achieve the same effect. Diesel engines never had carburetors: they've always been fuel-injected.

16. In 1856, James Harrison patented something which would eventually become an indispensable part of modern life. What was this device which ultimately revolutionised our kitchens and our eating habits?

From Quiz Advance Australia... Scientifically!

Answer: Refrigerator

Harrison invented the modern gas-compression refrigerator. After setting up an ice-making operation in Geelong, Victoria in 1851, he took out a patent in 1856 for a vapour compression system using ether, alcohol or ammonia. He also introduced commercial vapour-compression refrigeration to breweries and meat packing houses, and by 1861, a dozen of his systems were in operation. While these early systems were too big and bulky for home use, the principles developed by Harrison form the basis of modern refrigerators. Question provided by tonye49.

17. What was the title of the 1859 work by Charles Darwin in which he set out his theory of evolution by natural selection?

From Quiz Great British Discoveries

Answer: On the Origin of Species

Charles Darwin was a British naturalist who lived between 1802 and 1882. He is known for his theory of evolution by means of natural selection which he first published in the work 'On the Origin of Species' in 1859. Much of the evidence for his theory came from his studies on the Galapagos Islands which he visited while working on the British survey ship HMS Beagle.

18. Reginald Fessenden was the man responsible for SONAR, a technological tool created in 1912 and used in which location?

From Quiz Since When Did Canada Invent Things?

Answer: Underwater

While early concepts of RADAR were hypothesized in the 1880s, SONAR actually made its practical debut in 1912. Standing for Sound Navigation and Ranging, SONAR uses sound to locate objects in and on bodies of water; it was especially useful during war times, and resulted in more complex battles off land, particularly between submarines. Reginald Fessenden, who was the first to create a working SONAR apparatus, made the device in Boston (and called the Fessenden oscillator) after the sinking of the Titanic as a way to locate icebergs. Early versions of the device were not too great at locating small items. It would take many years before it could home in on items smaller than a sub.

19. The Romans used the abacus for counting purposes. What were the beads running along the wires of an abacus called?

From Quiz Roman Science and Invention

Answer: Calculi

From whence we get the modern word 'calculate'.

20. One man is traditionally credited with the invention of paper in China in 105 A.D., who was this fellow?

From Quiz Everything was Invented in China!

Answer: Cai Lun

In truth, Cai Lun did not invent paper, it was already in use at least 2 centuries before his 'invention'. The historical figure known as Cai Lun was involved in the improvement of the papermaking technique, by adding elements such as tree bark to the process, hence much increasing the quality of the paper. In fact, the improvement was so substantial, that the product became known as 'Marquis Cai's paper'!

21. In 2002, the man who invented a vaccine against smallpox 200 years before was named among "The 100 Greatest Britons of All Time ". Who was he?

From Quiz Greatest British Inventions: Part Four

Answer: Edward Jenner

Jenner's invention came about in 1796. Jenner had been apprenticed to a London surgeon at the age of 14. After his medical training he returned to his native Gloucestershire. At that time, smallpox was rife in the countryside. Jenner was aware of an old maids' tale that milkmaids who contracted cowpox never developed the much more deadly smallpox. He took a sample of cowpox and inserted it into a cut on one arm of a boy called James Phipps. He then established that Phipps was immune to smallpox. He was widely ridiculed at the time, but it worked and Jenner saved the lives of many more young people. He was to go in to become known as "the father of immunology".

22. "Raining, yes it's raining These old blues are gaining..." Which Briton invented the waterproof coat that bears his name 200 years later?

From Quiz Greatest British Inventions: Part Two

Answer: Charles Mackintosh

Charles Mackintosh was a Scottish chemist who developed a way in 1823 of using rubber to make clothing waterproof. The rubber was placed inside the cloth in a process known as vulcanisation. Incidentally, you would probably stay warm and dry in a Duffel coat. They were invented in 1850 by another Briton, John Partridge.

23. "We plough the fields and scatter The good seed on the land..." is a piece of a hymn that many of us are familiar with and hand scattering was the way of sowing seeds before the seed drill was invented. Who was the inventor?

From Quiz Greatest British Inventions: Part One

Answer: Jethro Tull

Tull's seed drill is often said to be the machine that sparked the Agricultural Revolution. It enabled farmers to sow seed consistently at an exact depth and then cover it with soil.

24. Some people believe that iron working first developed in China, but this is not so. In fact, iron working first occurred in which area?

From Quiz Everything was Invented in China!

Answer: Middle East

Around 1200 B.C., iron was first smelted and worked somewhere in the Middle East. The Earliest Chinese use of iron dates from somewhere around 600 B.C. The Chinese likely did not independently discover iron, the discovery of iron-working was probably another product of diffusion. Conversely, it's probable that the Chinese independently developed copper and bronze-working, which made it easier to accept the new iron-working technology.

25. What home essential did the Briton Frederick Walton come up with in 1855 that has divided opinions ever since?

From Quiz Greatest British Inventions: Part Four

Answer: Linoleum

Before Walton got in on the act, our homes had floors of wood, stone, carpet or mud - if you were very poor. There was another covering, India rubber, but it was very expensive. Walton discovered that solidified linseed oil (linoxyn) could be an alternative. It was also ideal for places where the floor was likely to get wet a lot, such as kitchens and bathrooms, was much cheaper, and could be made with a huge variety of patterns. Early on it did not wear well. Linoleum could dent or be fractured by high heels or sharp objects. It also faded quickly in sunlight. Lino, as the new material became known, had its heydays in the 1950s and 1960s, but is still manufactured. Modern Lino has its pros and cons. On the good side is it is eco-friendly, water resistant and stylish, and with good maintenance, can last for 40 years. On the bad side it is high maintenance, not waterproof, can be damaged by pets' claws, is difficult to lay, and is pricy. * Yes, pedants, there is a difference between water-resistant and waterproof.

26. Although it was a building material used by the Greeks and Romans and down through the years, it was not until 1824 that a British mason called William Aspdin came up with a variety that is noted today for its versatility and strength. What was it?

From Quiz Greatest British Inventions: Part Three

Answer: Portland cement

Portland cement is the material combined with aggregate or sand to make concrete. The cement is made of a mixture of limestone, shale, iron ore, and clay that is heated to a high temperature and then ground down to a powdery constituency. Lime and silica make up about 85 percent of the ingredients. Some people get terminology confused. Cement is the material: concrete is the product it is made into.

27. The Industrial Revolution did not really take off until steam engines were developed. Who in 1698 patented the first atmospheric pressure steam engine ?

From Quiz Greatest British Inventions: Part One

Answer: Thomas Savery

Savery's invention was designed to pump water out of deep coalmines. This design boiled water that turned into steam, thus causing a vacuum and drawing water into pipes. It worked, but not very efficiently. Early boilers also had a tendency to explode. In 1712, Thomas Newcomen came up with the first practical and reliable steam engine. It, too, was designed to pump water from mines and remained in use for about 50 years.

28. In the 1960s, a City of Phoenix engineer named Charles McDonald created something that makes our daily highway commute quieter. What item did McDonald initially invent while repairing potholes?

From Quiz Arizona: Science and Inventions 1912-2012

Answer: Rubberized asphalt

Rubberized asphalt is created by mixing asphalt concrete with crumb rubber generated from recycled tires. Charles McDonald originally liked using the mixture because of its durability, but it was later found to noticeably decrease road noise. A study by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration and the Arizona Department of Transportation found that road noise could be reduced by up to twelve decibels when roads were coated with the rubberized asphalt. Rubberized asphalt is also touted for creating longer lasting road surfaces that require less maintenance and for providing for reduced braking distances. The mixture is so popular that, in 1985, the Rubber Pavement Association was founded in Arizona to promote the use of rubberized asphalt worldwide. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, "asphalt rubber is the largest single market for ground rubber, consuming an estimated 220 million pounds, or approximately 12 million tires" annually. So not only does rubberized asphalt improve our commute, it provides a method to recycle those pesky tires.

29. Which unit of temperature is named after the British scientist who discovered the value of absolute zero, the coldest temperature possible?

From Quiz Great British Discoveries

Answer: Kelvin

Lord Kelvin was born William Thomson in Belfast in 1824. In 1848 he determined absolute zero, the coldest temperature physically possible, as being −273.15 degrees Celsius. He was made a Lord in 1892 in honour of his scientific discoveries in the field of thermodynamics, becoming Baron Kelvin, of Largs in the County of Ayr, and thus is commonly referred to as Lord Kelvin. The unit of temperature the 'Kelvin' was named after him with zero degrees Kelvin being absolute zero.

30. In 1930, a trio of Canadian doctors created a cereal formula for infants released under what name?

From Quiz Since When Did Canada Invent Things?

Answer: Pablum

Created in the early days of Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children (better known as 'Sick Kids' in the city), Pablum was developed as a food that could provide children with necessary nutrients for growth and overall health. While the meal does contain gluten (as it is made with wheat, oatmeal, cornmeal, and other grains), it avoids most other common allergens and actually works to prevent childhood diseases; it was a godsend in the Great Depression. The volume of pablum sold in the early years of its life helped fund many advancements, making Sick Kids one of the best-equipped hospitals in all of Canada. It also paved the way for later forms of essential infant nutrition used today.

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