Great Inventions

Published: 05th August 2015 05:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th August 2015 05:14 AM   |  A+A-

1. This term refers to the reproduction of a technical drawing, documenting an architectural or engineering design, using a contact printing process on light-sensitive sheets. Introduced in the 19th century, it allowed rapid reproduction of documents used in the construction industry. The process was characterised by light coloured lines on a background of a certain colour – essentially a negative of the original. The technique is now obsolete but the term is still used to refer to details of any plan. What is this term?

Dr Navin Jayakumar.jpg2. Leo Fender invented the 'Telecaster' and the 'Stratocaster' but could not play his invention. What did Fender invent?

3. The first mobile phone call was made in 1973 by Martin Cooper, an inventor in which company?

4. In 1903 Topsy the elephant was executed in Coney Island USA for the ‘murder’ of three men. The person who carried out the execution wanted to show that his rival Nikola Tesla’s invention was dangerous. Who was Tesla’s rival and how was poor Topsy executed?

5. Which famous Italian Renaissance polymath designed an armoured car, a scythed chariot, a pile driver, a revolving crane, a pulley, a lagoon dredge and a flying ship? He also studied river erosion that convinced him that the Earth is much older than the Bible implies, and he argued that falling sea levels and not Noah’s Flood left marine fossils on mountains.

6. In 1935 Charles Darrow filed a patent for what was to become the world’s bestselling board game. Many earlier versions also existed, one of which was called The Landlord’s Game. What name did Darrow give his version of the game?

7. Invented around 1618, these balls were hand-sewn leather cases filled with feathers and called Featheries. Later versions called Gutties were solid gutta-percha (a type of latex) balls. Some of these balls may even be found on the Moon – introduced there by astronaut Alan Shepherd, who played with them during the Apollo 14 mission! What balls are these?

8. While dining with clients at the Major’s Cabin Grill restaurant in 1949, Frank McNamara realised he had left his wallet in another suit. His wife paid the tab, and McNamara thought of a way to avoid similar embarrassments in the future. He discussed the idea with the restaurant owner and with his lawyer Ralph Schneider and friend Alfred Bloomingdale. What idea was thus born?

9. Who, along with Beno Gutenberg, at the Seismology Lab at the California Institute of Technology realised the pressing need to have a system of measuring the strength of earthquakes and devised the scale based on measuring quantitatively the displacement of the earth due to seismic waves?

10. Who is believed to have said of his most popular creation, “People can have the _______ in any colour – so long as it’s black”?

11. Ada Lovelace was poet Lord Byron’s daughter. She is chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage’s early mechanical Analytical Engine. In this context she is regarded as the world’s first ________ _________.

12. In 1943 Lieutenant Grace Hopper of the US Navy was tasked with developing Mark  I – one of the world’s first digital computers – to make fast calculations to study the trajectories of warheads. Incidentally, when the Mark II (successor to the Mark I) computer encountered a glitch one day, it turned out that a moth had been drawn by the glow of vacuum tubes and got stuck in one of the electrical switches inside the machine. Hopper remarked that they had to “_____” the computer. The phrase stuck, becoming popular terminology in the computer science field. What word is this?

13. These objects used by many of us daily were invented accidentally by Thomas Sullivan, who decided that it was cheaper to send small samples of this product to potential customers in silk bags instead of boxes. The recipients believed they were meant to be dunked directly in hot water and soon Sullivan was flooded with orders for his product. Nowadays paper fibre is used instead of silk. What product?

14. What photographic innovation was invented by Edwin Land in 1947 because his daughter Jennifer asked him why a photograph could not be seen the instant it was taken?

15. The squeezable tube nowadays contains anything from toothpaste and toiletries to adhesives to food products. However the first squeezable metal tube was invented by John Goffe Rand in 1841 to store what?


1. Blueprint

2. The electric guitar

3. Motorola

4. Thomas Alva Edison, who proposed DC electricity for homes. He used AC, invented by Tesla, to electrocute the elephant to show that it was dangerous. Actually AC is safe and is used in homes today.

5. Leonardo da Vinci

6. Monopoly

7. Golf balls

8. The idea for the Diners Club Credit Card

9. Charles Richter after whom the Richter Scale is named.

10. Henry Ford about the Model T car that was only available in black!

11. Computer programmer

12. Debug!

13. Tea bags

14. Polaroid camera

15.  Paint. Rand was an American portrait painter.


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