Thomas Edison was famous for giving job applicants a special “practical” test he had composed. Many well-educated “college men” had great difficulty passing this test, as Edison often chided the education system for producing rote memory specialists who had little original thinking power. Various versions of these tests existed over the years, often succumbing to probing newspaper publishers who obtained the tests and printed the answers.
There were originally 150 questions for the applicant to answer. A perfect score was not needed, but you had better score high if you expected to work for the great inventor. Here in this very shortened version, which appeared in the October 11, 2004 print edition of U.S. News & World Report, you can take the test and see the answers below. No peeking until you are finished!
1. What city in the United States is noted for its laundry-machine making?
2. Who was Leonidas?
3. Who invented logarithms?
4. Where is Magdalena Bay?
5. What is the first line in the Aeneid?
6. What is the weight of air in a room 10 by 20 by 30 feet?
7. Who composed Il Trovatore?
8. What voltage is used on streetcars?
9. Which countries supply the most mahogany?
10. Who was the Roman emperor when Jesus Christ was born?
11. How many cubic yards of concrete in a wall 12 by 20 by 2 feet?
12. Who assassinated President Lincoln?
So, could you have worked for the man?
1. Newton, Iowa 2. Spartan general who died at Thermopylae 3. John Napier 4. Baja California 5. Arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris 6. Air at 0.075 pounds per cubic foot x 6,000= 450 pounds 7. Giuseppe Verdi 8. 600 volts, at the time 9. Brazil, Bolivia 10. Augustus 11. 17.78 cubic yards 12. John Wilkes Booth
“What you are will show in what you do.”
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