Famous Inventors

Name the people credited with these inventions.
Practically every invention was the work of several people. These are the ones who got the credit.
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: August 27, 2018
First submittedMarch 30, 2010
Times taken32,451
Rating4.34
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Invention
Year
Inventor
Lightning Rod
1749
Benjamin Franklin
Lightbulb (practical)
1878
Thomas Edison
Cotton Gin
1793
Eli Whitney
Polio Vaccine
1952
Jonas Salk
Telephone
1876
Alexander Graham Bell
Airplane
1903
Wright Brothers
Periodic Table
1869
Dmitri Mendeleev
Psychoanalysis
1890s
Sigmund Freud
Telegraph (practical)
1844
Samuel Morse
Steam Engine
(condensation chamber)
1765
James Watt
Invention
Year
Inventor
Dynamite
1867
Alfred Nobel
Revolver
1836
Samuel Colt
Geodesic Dome
1948
Buckminster Fuller
Machine Gun
1862
Richard Gatling
Cornflakes
1894
John Kellogg
Vulcanized Rubber
1839
Charles Goodyear
Blue Jeans
1873
Levi Strauss
Basketball
1891
James Naismith
Radio (practical)
1890s
Guglielmo Marconi
Alternating Current
(transmission system)
1887
Nikola Tesla
+1
Level 76
Mar 13, 2013
I put in Morse and the game didn't take it!
+4
Level 38
Jan 27, 2017
Edison Stole the Idea
+2
Level 81
Jul 16, 2018
No, he had a light bulb over his head in a thought bubble.
+3
Level 20
Mar 18, 2013
Aww, I only know the inventor of blue jeans by 'Levi' (After the brand name) rather than his last name >.
+1
Level 79
Mar 18, 2013
Actually the brand name is Levi Strauss... but sometimes they're just called Levi's
+1
Level 79
Mar 18, 2013
Also, glad to see Berners-Lee not on this list as "credited with inventing the internet." A distinction he deserves, in all seriousness, less than Al Gore.
+2
Level 63
Apr 9, 2016
He invented (as much as anyone invents anything) the World Wide Web, which is conflated with the Internet by most people because to most people the Web is the Internet.
+1
Level 79
Oct 13, 2016
Not really anymore. Does your smartphone or iPad use the Internet? None of those apps on it use the world wide web. The conflation was indeed common for a long time but it has always been wrong.
+3
Level 54
Feb 28, 2018
Welllll...a web browser on one's smartphone or iPad uses the World Wide Web, hence the 'www' before addresses.
+1
Level 79
May 28, 2018
the www is mostly just a common convention these days. The earliest Internet sites and many today don't have it, and if you took it away they would still work. But anyway I'm referring to apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tinder, Google Maps, Spotify, WhatsApp, Snapchat, etc etc etc etc.. you know... the things that people use their smartphones for.
+1
Level 67
Jan 8, 2020
I use it for jetpunk, which is on a website... (it is 99% what im on internet for, plus occasionaly to check departure times of trains and busses)
+1
Level 79
Apr 27, 2020
Look again at the browser bar. Do you see a "www" in front of jetpunk? Internet domains were already being registered before Lee designed the network at CERN, Internet pages had already been created, the backbone of the Internet had been there for decades with a variety of different ways to use it and access it, and the term "web" was already being used to describe the global Internet. Lee helped popularize and commercialize the Internet (before this it was mostly, but not entirely, used for research and other less commercial pursuits); he developed early web browsers to make finding and viewing Internet sites easier; and he invented the hypertext link. Many people have been confused in to thinking that without the World Wide Web somehow it would be impossible to access Internet domains or view web pages. This isn't true. And today, very few Internet-based applications or services bother with the outdated tradition of referencing the CERN network.
+1
Level 32
Mar 18, 2013
Good that you made this note about crediting and realities.
+3
Level 42
Mar 19, 2013
actually Joseph Swan invented the light bulb and i would appreciate a correct quiz instead of what Americans thank is the right answer.
+1
Level 79
Mar 20, 2013
This isn't based on what Americans "thank." The quiz description and caveats make it clear.
+2
Level 42
Mar 22, 2013
but Joseph swan did get the credit and Edison attempted to steal the idea until the agreed that Edison could sell the product as long as swan got the credit
+3
Level 74
Oct 12, 2015
In New Zealand, the generally-gets-credit answer is Richard Pearse.
+1
Level 57
Feb 20, 2016
This should be indeed corrected. This is more of a misconception than an actual difference of opinion; Wikipedia says "In addressing the question of who invented the incandescent lamp, historians Robert Friedel and Paul Israel[8] list 22 inventors of incandescent lamps prior to Joseph Swan and Thomas Edison." and Google says Edison, Swan and Maxim
+1
Level 69
Oct 18, 2013
It is true that the incandescent light bulb was already invented, so the idea that Edison invented the light bulb is a misconception. Edison only found a new filament for the light bulb that lasted longer. So, I guess I could say that Edison came up with a new and improved light bulb, but not the original design.
+1
Level 76
Mar 26, 2016
Well said.
+1
Level 50
Jun 20, 2013
Tried Kellog with one "G". When it didn't accept it, I assumed I was on the wrong track. That stinks.
+2
Level 42
Apr 22, 2020
So you're the reason that people who know how to spell correctly often get stuck with a letter left over in the answer box that interferes with the following question. THANKS.
+1
Level 43
Aug 21, 2013
Got 17 out of 20.
+2
Level 74
Jan 21, 2014
Did the Wright brothers really get the credit for inventing the airplane? They made the first successful powered flight over any significant distance, but there had been less-successful versions, which were nonetheless airplanes, well before then.
+1
Level ∞
Jan 21, 2014
https://www.google.com/search?q=who+invented+the+airplane
+5
Level 58
Oct 14, 2015
I can "make" a time machine, step into it for ten seconds, come out and technically be in the future, but does that make it a time machine, really?
+1
Level 54
Feb 28, 2018
The colloquial understanding of what an airplane/aeroplane is is a flying vehicle for transportation which is motorised. Hundreds, maybe even thousands, of flying transportation vehicles had been invented prior to the Wrights' machine, but they were all nonmotorised (such as the numerous means of gliding around invented previously or a parachute).
+2
Level 63
Mar 4, 2014
Thanks to Supernatural Samuel Colt was easy.
+1
Level 67
Dec 6, 2018
One of my attempts was actually winchester... got colt in the last few seconds (had also typed lots of stuff thrying to remember smiths and wesson (like west and smithson...) was actually surprised that I knew 3 manufacturers (guns are illegal here, so I guess I picked up the names from movies, I guess a lot of info is obtained that way, by osmosis)
+2
Level 34
Mar 10, 2014
I tried to put Maxim for the Maxim gun...
+1
Level 83
May 31, 2014
Gatlin! Just because it lagged a measle G at the end I figured I was wrong... wasn't even aware there was a G. :( --- also guessed Mendel for the periodic table, but yeah that's a different guy. And Polk for Polio, again a different guy though got close in how it sounds :)
+1
Level 68
Jun 12, 2014
Could you accept Kellog?
+1
Level 50
Jul 3, 2014
Vulcanized rubber? Is that rubber with pointy ears?
+3
Level 58
Dec 19, 2014
My pov on Kellogg is, his name sits on your breakfast table in front of you every day, you ought to notice how it's spelled! I would say, however, that since most people believe "Kellogg" invented the cornflakes, you might as well put the guy who actually created Kellogg's, his brother Will. Though, as I now read in wikipedia, John and Will actually invented the flakes together. It's just that John didn't then get into the breakfast cereal business.
+3
Level 72
Oct 12, 2015
Wasn't Meucci been credited with the telephone, too? At least initially
+2
Level 59
Jan 30, 2018
Yes he was, and still should be. However, as Americans are known to do, Alexander Graham Bell stole Meucci's invention and now everyone thinks of him as the man who invented the telephone.
+2
Level 38
Apr 20, 2020
Philipp Reis developed a working telephone around a decade before Bell. Bell had seen a prototype of the Reis telephone in 1862. (Bell's version was technologically far superior to Reis' version, though).
+2
Level 59
Oct 12, 2015
All of these inventions fall between 1749 and 1952, roughly 2 centuries. I was hoping for both newer and older inventions too.
+1
Level 67
Sep 6, 2019
it's hard to say who invented older things because the farther back you go, the harder it is to find evidence of who it was. Like how gunpowder is said to be a Chinese invention, but it's not actually attributed to any particular person.
+1
Level 78
Oct 12, 2015
It's sad that more people don't know about the great Bucky Fuller. Synergetics, architecture and design, doing more with less, the Dymaxion world map and car, "There is no energy crisis, only a crisis of ignorance,"...he was a man ahead of his time. However, as with many others on this list he never claimed to "invent" the geodesic dome or most of the other objects and ideas associated with him, only to popularize or improve them. Walter Bausfield designed the dome twenty years before Bucky patented it. One of my favorite ideas of Fuller's is that we need to stop thinking about "up and down" as concepts on Earth, and instead think in terms of in and out - i.e. we actually go instairs and outstairs, - and since we now know the earth is not flat we should stop thinking of it as two-dimensional but rather in terms of sphere and volume and lots of other geometric concepts I do not understand.
+1
Level 58
Oct 13, 2015
Sad when I did this quiz today, that "Bucky Fuller" wasn't accepted. Only Buckminster Fuller or Fuller on its own.
+1
Level 59
Oct 12, 2015
Never knew how to spell Gatling until now.
+2
Level 47
Oct 12, 2015
Pretty bad how few know about Watt, the brackets "(condensation chamber)" make it seem like he didn't make that much of an impact. I imagine it's just because they don't teach much about non-American inventors in US schools. To be fair though, I don't remember being taught anything about Edison at school, more just from the imported popular culture. Personally I think he should have more credit for his contributions to cinema and sound recording, his advances with the lightbulb weren't that big considering Swan had done most of the work but as a modest man let Edison do what he wanted as long as it didn't affect the UK.
+1
Level 79
Oct 12, 2015
I first learned about Watt at an American public high school. And plenty of other non-American inventors. And, of course, Edison, who was the most prolific inventor in history up until pretty recently.
+1
Level 67
Dec 6, 2018
I was very surprised at how low watt scored! He would be one of a few that I could ve named myself (without being asked specefic questions to be reminded first. I guess the list would be tesla, edison, volta, watt, bell, cury (x-ray right?) I know more but those are the first few that drift to the surface)
+1
Level 70
Oct 12, 2015
Almost all 'Inventions' are just improvements on previous ideas. It is very difficult to pinpoint a conclusive 'Invention'. Most of these listed are 'Improvements' rather than inventions. Edison had a stable of brainy individuals working for a wage who would pass on their ideas and models to Edison who would then patent them under his name. Without his business acumen and energy some of these prototypes may never have progressed beyond ideas.
+1
Level 78
Apr 6, 2016
True, Edison's employee, Dickson, developed the movie camera. After Dickson left and started his own company, Edison sued him for patent infringement. The US Court of Appeals ruled that Edison did not invent the movie camera, merely the sprocket system which moved the film through the camera. Today it's an accepted practice that employees of a company do not own the rights to something they develop or discover as an employee, using the company's labs, while on the company's payroll.
+2
Level 36
Oct 12, 2015
The Gatling gun technically was not a machine gun; it is considered a direct predecessor to what is considered a machine gun. The first machine gun was the Maxim gun, invented by Sir Hiram Maxim.
+2
Level 57
Feb 28, 2018
Seconded. The Gatling Gun operated using a hand crank and was fed by gravity - not in itself a 'machine'. Maxim made the first true machine gun that converted the power of a spent round into recoil energy, which operated the bolt, and in turn chambered the next round. I suppose it depends on the definition of machine which varies from person to person. Personally I think the Maxim Gun was the first.
+1
Level 81
Jul 16, 2018
The Maxim gun changed everything and the reason World War One was such a motionless slaughterhouse. The Gatling gun? Mostly a movie prop, not really used much. It's like a hand crank ice cream maker versus an ice cream factory.
+3
Level 59
Oct 13, 2015
I was sad to see the Jimmie Walker isn't accepted for Dynamite...
+1
Level 81
Jul 16, 2018
Good one.
+2
Level 78
Oct 13, 2016
And the inventor of the toilet- Crapper,thomas
+1
Level 76
Feb 7, 2018
He invented the ball cock and a certain type of flushing toilet. Toilets had existed long before Crapper came along.
+1
Level 70
Feb 3, 2018
I've never heard anyone claim that the Wright brothers invented the airplane. They may have conducted the first successful flights, but that doesn't mean they invented it.
+1
Level 67
Sep 6, 2019
As mentioned above, if I "invent" a time machine but it doesn't work, have I really invented a time machine? no. They made the first working (powered) airplane. If you go with non-working ideas then you can say Da Vinci invented the helicopter and thats just ridiculous.
+1
Level 61
Mar 1, 2020
Are cornflakes really an invention. I mean, you could just create them first, not really inventing though.
+1
Level 66
Mar 2, 2020
Could Levi be accepted for Levi Strauss?
+1
Level 79
Apr 27, 2020
and James accepted for Watt?