The Amateur Inventors Quiz
by Staff
They say necessity is the mother of invention, but sometimes the impetus is just a really weird idea. Can you match these amateur inventors to their inventions? Take this quiz to find out.

Which extremely prolific amateur inventor was also known as "the first American"?

  • George Washington
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Thomas Jefferson

How many patents did Benjamin Franklin hold?

  • none
  • 10
  • 421

This is NOT a Benjamin Franklin invention.

  • swim fins
  • harpsichord
  • odometer

Franklin designed the first version of this coin.

  • penny
  • nickel
  • dime

What did Franklin invent to help when his brother had kidney stones?

  • catheter
  • stethoscope
  • aspirin

The invention of air conditioning is often attributed to Franklin because of his fondness for this activity.

  • putting a bowl of ice in front of a fan
  • taking ice baths
  • opening the windows

Which inventor got his start when he began swimming after being injured in a car accident?

  • Nikola Tesla
  • Jacques Cousteau
  • Bill Gates

What was the name of the underwater house Cousteau developed in the '60s?

  • Pradit
  • Atlantique
  • Conshelf

How old was Louis Braille when he started developing braille?

  • 12
  • 18
  • 22

This 19th-century inventor was a traveling portrait painter before he came up with his signature creation.

  • Thomas Edison
  • Samuel Morse
  • James Watt

Garrett Morgan, the inventor of the traffic light and military gas mask, got his start by tinkering with this device.

  • phonograph
  • telegraph machine
  • sewing machine

The self-taught Leonardo da Vinci was basically the house inventor for this powerful Italian family.

  • the Sforzas
  • the Medicis
  • the Borgias

Da Vinci's sketch for an armored tank had one fatal flaw that some believe was intentional. What was it?

  • It didn't have a steering mechanism.
  • The wheels didn't turn.
  • The gears didn't work.

Which early movie actress was also an inventor?

  • Lillian Gish
  • Jean Harlow
  • Hedy Lamarr

What's the modern name for the secret communications system?

  • spread-spectrum technology
  • radio frequency propagation
  • amplitude modulation signaling

What was the occupation of Lamarr's co-inventor?

  • composer
  • military engineer
  • chef

Which inventor was sometimes called the "black Edison"?

  • Garrett Morgan
  • George Washington Carver
  • Granville Woods

Which Marx brothers were also amateur inventors?

  • Chico and Harpo
  • Gummo and Zeppo
  • Groucho and Dummo

Amateur inventor Lonnie G. Johnson had his biggest success with a toy originally called the Power Drencher, now known as the …

  • Slip'N Slide
  • Super Soaker
  • Wet Willie

The 2015 film "Joy" was partly based on the life of inventor Joy Mangano. Which of these choices is NOT a Joy Mangano invention?

  • My Little Steamer
  • Huggable Hangers
  • Snuggie

Which '60s movie star held a patent for car bucket seats?

  • Omar Sharif
  • Steve McQueen
  • James Dean

Which famous author held a patent for adjustable garment straps?

  • John Steinbeck
  • Charles Dickens
  • Mark Twain

Who were the two men who claimed to have accidentally (and separately) invented Silly Putty?

  • James Wright and Earl Warrick
  • Daniel Schreiner and Curtis Joyner
  • Brian Higgins and Ole Kirk Christiansen

Which famous guitar player does NOT hold a U.S. patent?

  • Eddie Van Halen
  • Prince
  • Eric Clapton

After John Landis Mason invented the jar that bears his name, he also came up with a useful improvement to this kitchen item.

  • salt shaker
  • frying pan
  • tea kettle

Inventing was a side gig for Paul Winchell, who patented the first artificial heart. What was his main job?

  • ventriloquist
  • plumber
  • marketing executive

What did Paul Brown invent in 1991 that made him $13 million in just four years?

  • smart pill
  • upside-down squeeze bottle
  • computer mouse

Which one-named hunk has an unreleased fat-burning drink?

  • Yanni
  • Fabio
  • Usher

What was the profession of Sylvan Goldman, who invented the shopping cart?

  • pianist
  • automotive engineer
  • supermarket owner

Sara Blakely was nearly broke when she came up with this invention, which made her a billionaire.

  • Spanx
  • Pillow Pets
  • the Snuggie