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Materials From History #3

Can you name these substances and materials that played an important part in world history?
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: January 28, 2022
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First submittedJanuary 28, 2022
Times taken18,821
Average score65.0%
Rating4.45
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Answer
In 1973, many Arab nations refused to sell this to the U.S. and other Israeli allies
Petroleum
This metal was mined in Cornwall in ancient times. Combine it with copper to make bronze.
Tin
Radioactive element discovered by the Curies that was once used to illuminate watch dials
Radium
This crop was "king" in the U.S. south prior to the Civil War
Cotton
The Chinese discovered the formula for this saltpeter-based substance in the 9th century
Gunpowder
Tubes of this gas were first used in eye-catching signs in the 1910s
Neon
Bakelite, created in 1907, was the first synthetic variety of this substance made
from carbon polymers
Plastic
George Washington grew this useful rope-making plant which was later banned
Hemp
Naturally-occurring mineral which was widely used for insulation and fire-proofing,
now known to cause mesothelioma
Asbestos
Sir Walter Raleigh brought this from Virginia to England. A small pouch was found
on his person after he was beheaded.
Tobacco
Only nobles in the Incan Empire were allowed to chew this leaf. In the 19th century,
it was added to wine and soft drinks.
Coca
Egyptian mummies were wrapped in this white fabric, made from flax
Linen
A known antidepressant, it was first used to make batteries in the 1980s
Lithium
Crop responsible for a huge amount of the Caribbean slave trade
Sugarcane
The British held a monopoly over this substance in India so Gandhi marched
to the sea to make it
Salt
Used to make ancient sandals, Dom Pérignon found another use for
this tree-bark substance
Cork
Violin strings were formerly made of this substance which, despite its name, is made
from sheep or goat intestines, not those of a cat
Catgut
In ancient times, Pliny the Elder complained that the Roman taste for this spice was
causing a trade deficit with India
Pepper
Until the Japanese started to create "cultured" ones in the 1900s, people dove
below the sea to get them
Pearls
The first evidence of people consuming this comes from Yemen, near the town of Mocha
Coffee
23 Comments
+2
Level 85
Jan 29, 2022
Isn't lithium technically classified as something other than an antidepressant?
+2
Level 89
Jan 30, 2022
Yes and no, @cpgatbyu. It is used as a mood stabiliser in the treatment of bipolar disorder (to moderate both low and high moods) but it is also useful in treating unipolar depression, which, I suppose, makes it an antidepressant.

"Lithium is the most effective medication in psychiatry, because it has disease-modifying, not just symptomatic, effects. It is effective not only for bipolar illness but also for prevention of suicide, episodes of unipolar depression, mood temperaments, and possibly dementia.”

Barroilhet & Ghaemi (2020) doi: 10.1111/acps.13202

+3
Level 85
Jan 30, 2022
Technically, lithium is a metallic element - silver-white, very low density, and highly reactive. It's properties make it ideal for making wonderful things like pharmaceuticals and batteries.
+3
Level ∞
Jan 30, 2022
Lithium is weird. There are links between lithium in the water supply and suicide (more lithium = less suicide) and obesity (more lithium = more obesity).

It's also possible that optimal human health depends on getting just the right amount of lithium in one's water.

+3
Level 65
Mar 2, 2022
Tastes great and it's less filling
+6
Level 87
Jan 29, 2022
For the slave trade one, I tried sugar, molasses, rum -- nothing worked. I was a bit irked when I saw the answer.
+2
Level ∞
Jan 30, 2022
Sugar will work now.
+4
Level 86
Jan 30, 2022
Could you accept cannabis for hemp?
+3
Level 68
Feb 15, 2022
Very enjoyable, thank you.

I tried cannabis (for the sake of this quiz!) Arp2600 so I looked it up and technically it differs from hemp in its chemical make-up.

+2
Level 68
Mar 2, 2022
Why is “ooooooooooil” an acceptable answer?
+6
Level 77
Mar 2, 2022
Why did you try it?
+3
Level 74
Mar 2, 2022
Because the quiz accepts any answer that includes "oil" in it. So kljbxdibewkncadkcboooillllhsjdkdmsmxyz should also work.
+3
Level 75
Mar 2, 2022
It does indeed work. I was disappointed to find that kljbxdibewkncadkcbootinlllhsjdkdmsmxyz didn't work for #2 though - add it as a type-in QM?
+2
Level 82
Mar 2, 2022
Got everything but the Indian spice decently easily, but then I was left with the arduous task of trying every spice from India which, in case you were wondering, there are a lot of. Got there in the end, though. Just in the nick of time!
+1
Level 82
Mar 2, 2022
Yay. Asbestos. I think I suggested that one on a previous installment. For part 4 you should put on Teflon. And Panzo-Topanzanite. Oh wait, the 2nd one is from South Park.
+1
Level 56
Mar 3, 2022
Fun quiz
+2
Level 76
Jun 11, 2022
this doesn't seem to be part of the 'Materials from History' series, can it be added?
+2
Level 66
May 17, 2023
While tin was mined in ancient times in Cornwall, the last tin mine only closed in 1998
+2
Level 54
Apr 4, 2024
I'm absolutely amazed that the average is only 13. These are so easy to just guess with common sense.
+1
Level 67
Jul 3, 2024
Happy to see this series continue :)
+1
Level 49
Jul 3, 2024
Fun quiz!!

Why is Bakelite the first *synthetic* variety of plastic? I thought all varieties of plastic were synthetic

+2
Level 32
Jul 3, 2024
Pretty sure people were responsible for the North Atlantic slave trade, not a plant.
+1
Level 16
Jul 4, 2024
Can I use this quizz to do the same i the french Jetpunk please ? I'm sure french people will love that too haha