Edison Intelligence Test

The Thomas Edison Intelligence Employment Questions

            Many people have asked me, or rather, complained about the many, many crappy “tests” to they have to do to get a job. But believe it or not, these sorts of things have been around for some time, often masquerading as intelligence tests as opposed to today’s “Personality” tests that lie about being Psychology tests. Thomas “Genius is a product of perspiration, not inspiration” Edison used this one to hire people.

Post edit: Dear lord, this was long. Still not as long as the modern psychology/personality test. That’s the good thing about having a one college degree or more; I don’t have to fill this stuff out anymore. It really amazes me how easily I could have solved this with google queries or an atlas from the public library.

I mean, I get what tests like this are trying to say. The idea is that one has a broad level of knowledge or at least the ability to convey how one would solve the problem—the process is just as important as the answer.

So without further ado, for your lulz, are my snappy answers to the Edison Test.


Why this makes me the perfect employee:

Because I have sense of humor.


  1. What countries bound France?

Well, if you mean directly, that would probably be Spain, Luxemborg and

  1. What city and country produce the finest china?

China. China is the answer; the name of the country became a deluded trademark.

  1. Where is the River Volga?

Shouldn’t this be “Where is the river known as “Volga”?”. The answer is that Volga is a river on planet Earth. Hey, you said “where”—you failed to state specificity.

  1. What is the finest cotton grown?

Egyptian cotton is legendary, but I’m guessing the answer will be some kind of thing from the south given who is asking.

  1. What country consumed the most tea before the war?

England/Great Brittan. Again, I feel the real answer is China, but few of this time period would have any reliable way to reasonably compare this.

  1. What city in the United States leads in making laundry machines?

No idea, but I bet it’s related to how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

  1. What city is the fur centre of the United States?

“Centre” is spelled “Center”, you silly goose. Well, no one wears fur anymore. To solve this, I’d look into trade journals and call local businesses. Given the time this test was written, I’d say New York. I’m at a loss to think who wears fur anymore.

  1. What country is the greatest textile producer?

“Greatest” in what? Greatest for sales? Greatest for quality merchandise? Greatest number of exports? One would assume this means quality, but after a year of living in China, I’m much more skeptical.

  1. Is Australia greater than Greenland in area?

I’d go with Austrailia. But the question is a poor one without context—will you operate a business there? Or a farm?

  1. Where is Copenhagen?

Denmark. I had to resist making my “Earth” joke.

  1. Where is Spitzbergen?

I’d hazard a guess at Germany. And on a map. Really, I’d go the library and do this but I’m doing this while at the local pub and off the top of my head.

  1. In what country other than Australia are kangaroos found?
    1. Anyone with a zoo.
  2. What telescope is the largest in the world?
    1. Nowadays? I’d say the CECS Observatory in Hawaii. But when this was written, radio telescopes and satellite dishes didn’t exist. So it would be SETI.
  3. Who was Bessemer and what did he do?
    1. No idea. More importantly, what does this have to do with the job?
  4. How many states in the Union?
    1. At the time of the test, I’d say 48.
  5. Where do we get prunes from?
    1. *rolls eyes*. I’m pretty sure grapes, but they are from a fruit bearing plant.
  6. Who was Paul Revere?
    1. He is most famous for saying “The British are coming!” and “One (lantern) by land and two if by sea”! I think.
  7. Who was John Hancock?
    1. He signed the Declaration of Independence with the biggest signature. “Biggest,” here, means he took the most space.
  8. Who was Plutarch?
    1. A roman.
  9. Who was Hannibal?
    1. Well, he wasn’t a cannibal. He was a general rode elephants over the alps to invade Rome from Cartharge.
  10. Who was Danton?
    1. A human.
  11. Who was Solon?
    1. Still a human being.
  12. Who was Francis Marion?
    1. Oh for god’s….this is just trivia!
  13. Who was Leonidas?
    1. He lead the 300 in defense of Thermopylae!
  14. Where did we get Louisiana from?
    1. Ze French. They sold it to us. It was called “The Louisiana Purchase.”
  15. Who was Pizarro?
    1. Don’t know.
  16. Who was Bolivar?
    1. Don’t care. The last Bolivar I read about was in “Lonesome Dove”. Why did I do this again?
  17. What war material did Chile export to the Allies during the war?
    1. WW1, right? Pass, due to poor writing.
  18. Where does most of the coffee come from?
    1. I’m taking a wild guess at Columbia.
  19. Where is Korea?
    1. Oh for ^%(&$() sake. It’s on Earth. It’s near China and Japan.
  20. Where is Manchuria?
    1. No where. It doesn’t exist. It used to be in China.
  21. Where was Napoleon born?
    1. Seriously, I’m gonna answer “Earth” to every “where” question. I’m sure it was France.
  22. What is the highest rise of tide on the North American Coast?
    1. I’m gonna say it was above see-level. Huh. Huh? See what I there?
  23. Who invented logarithms?
  24. Who was the Emperor of Mexico when Cortez landed?
    1. Since his name has no spelling and therefore can’t really be wrong, I’ll write: Tzipocoloaispdoifhljkerbt;weryh
  25. Where is the Imperial Valley and what is it noted for?
    1. It is famous for being in California.
  26. What and where is the Sargasso Sea?
    1. No idea. How many angels dance on the head of a pin? But seriously, I’d answer most of these by going to the library, and getting an atlas.
  27. What is the greatest known depth of the ocean?
    1. The Marianas Trench. It’s many miles deep.
  28. What is the name of a large inland body of water that has no outlet?
    1. A pool. In nature, it would be called “A lake”.
    2. What is the capital of Pennsylvania?

The letter “P”.

  1. What state is the largest? Next?

Finally, something I know. Alaska followed by Texas. This is probably the wrong answer given when the test was written, though.

  1. Rhode Island is the smallest state. What is the next and the next?

Wyoming. It’s not a real state and Vermont.

  1. How far is it from New York to Buffalo?

1 train ride.

  1. How far is it from New York to San Francisco?

One country. But really, one plane ride.

  1. How far is it from New York to Liverpool?

Approx. One half of the world.

  1. Of what state is Helena the capital?

Montana. I’ll put my money on Montana.

  1. Of what state is Tallahassee the capital?

Florida. It’s also the home of the secret underground lair of the world’s worst superhero: Florida Man!

  1. What state has the largest copper mines?

No idea. Sorry.

  1. What state has the largest amethyst mines?

Will I be selling amethyst? It is my birthstone.

  1. What is the name of a famous violin maker?

Stradivarius violin.

  1. Who invented the modern paper-making machine?

I wasn’t aware I interviewed for the printing job. I thought I was here to be handsome!

  1. Who invented the typesetting machine?

Seriously, what does this do with me doing this job.

  1. Who invented printing?

I’ll go with Gutenberg.

  1. How is leather tanned?

I truly do not care.

  1. What is artificial silk made from?

Chemicals. Next!

  1. What is a caisson?


  1. What is shellac?

Get on with it!

  1. What is celluloid made from?


  1. What causes the tides?

The moon and the water.

  1. To what is the change of the seasons due?
  2. What is coke?

2 meanings; One is a controlled substance known as “nose candy” and the other is a drink made from nose candy. So nose candy.

  1. From what part of the North Atlantic do we get codfish?

North Atlantic. Oh god, what did I sign up for! Ask me if I’d ever take a day off! This is getting gpainful.

  1. Who reached the South Pole?

The English?

  1. What is a monsoon?

A weather phenomenon similar to a hurricane.

  1. Where is the Magdalena Bay?

Earth. I’m still not wrong!

  1. From where do we import figs?

Don’t know.

  1. From where do we get dates?

Internet web sites and pop ups. There are hot singles in my area.

  1. Where do we get our domestic sardines?

Fish farms. I’m guessing fish farms.

  1. What is the longest railroad in the world?

The Trans-Siberian. Weird, I don’t remember typing this. I looked away to order cake and it was there.

  1. Where is Kenosha?

No clue. Where is the Ark of the Covenant?

  1. What is the speed of sound?

600mph. Thank you, Mr. Gibb’s 11th grade physics course!

  1. What is the speed of light?

186,000 mi/s. thank you again, Mr. Gibbs!

  1. Who was Cleopatra and how did she die?

Cleopatra was Potelmy queen of Egypt. She allegedly committed suicide as depicted in the Shakespeare play “Anthony and Cleopatra”. If you believe that, then I have the Lisa Simpson Bridge in Stumptown to sell you!

  1. Where are condors found?


75, Who discovered the law of gravitation?

Sir Isaac Newton.

  1. What is the distance between the earth and sun?

1 AU.

  1. Who invented photography?


  1. What country produces the most wool?

You can’t pull the sheep over my eyes! Ask a real question.

  1. What is felt?

Air. Electric jolts. Sad things, happy things, and a material used on puppets.

  1. What cereal is used in all parts of the world?

Corn Flakes?

  1. What states produce phosphates?


  1. Why is cast iron called pig iron?

I’m guessing it’s a jab at its quality.

  1. Name three principal acids?

Sulfuric, Stomach and brown acid.

  1. Name three powerful poisons.

Arsenic. Radiation. Food. Really, the question is “Powerful enough for what”? Crud, I mean, “I plead the fifth!”

  1. Who discovered radium?

Madam Curie.

  1. Who discovered the X-ray?

Madam Curie.

  1. Name three principal alkalis.

Can’t. Sorry.

  1. What part of Germany do toys come from?

What kind of toys? You know what,I don’t feel comfortable saying either way.

  1. What States bound West Virginia?

Virgina. The state of rationality and obesity.

  1. Where do we get peanuts from?


  1. What is the capital of Alabama?

The “A”. Hey, didn’t you ask me this before?

  1. Who composed “Il Trovatore”?

No idea. Will I sing it?

  1. What is the weight of air in a room 20 by 30 by 10?
  2. Where is platinum found?

Rap records and Rapper’s teeth.

  1. With what metal is platinum associated when found?


  1. How is sulphuric acid made?

Very carefully.

  1. Where do we get sulphur from?

Labs and catalogues. I mean, it is a chemical from nature.

  1. Who discovered how to vulcanize rubber?

Mr. Spock.

  1. Where do we import rubber from?

South America?

  1. What is vulcanite and how is it made?

It’s a rock made from volcanic processes. Good god, when will this list end.

  1. Who invented the cotton gin?

Eli Whitney. Thank you, Bill Watterson, writer of Calvin and Hobbes.

  1. What is the price of 12 grains of gold?

Now or then? Either way, I don’t know.

  1. What is the difference between anthracite and bituminous coal?

No clue.

  1. Where do we get benzol from?

I’m drawing a blank.

  1. Of what is glass made?

Sand. Hot sand.

  1. How is window glass made?

You heat sand to many thousands of degrees, about 2000 degrees and then use tubes and blowers and certain metals to make cool colors and designs. Glass is technically a liquid.

  1. What is porcelain?

A solid-state material. Made from a type of clay, I think.

  1. What country makes the best optical lenses and what city?

Oh lord…my brain is melting.

  1. What kind of a machine is used to cut the facets of diamonds?

Nowadays it’s lasers, lathes and other strange things. Heck, as carbon, diamonds can be grown in labs.

  1. What is a foot pound?

Someone who stomps.

  1. Where do we get borax from?

Chemicals found in nature.

  1. Where is the Assuan Dam?

Egypt, I think.

  1. What star is it that has been recently measured and found to be of enormous size?

Tom Arnold. He’s many times heavier than Tom Cruise.

  1. What large river in the United States flows from south to north?

The Colorado river?

  1. What are the Straits of Messina?

No idea.

  1. What is the highest mountain in the world?

Mt. Everrest.

  1. Where do we import cork from?


  1. Where is the St. Gothard tunnel?

Germany. And by that I mean Earth.

  1. What is the Taj Mahal?


  1. Where is Labrador?

A type of dog.

  1. Who wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner”?

Francis Scott Key.

  1. Who wrote “Home, Sweet Home”?

It’s a song? I only ever saw that on needle point.

  1. Who was Martin Luther?

He wrote about the 99 theses and nailed them to the walls of the church.

  1. What is the chief acid in vinegar?

No clue.

  1. Who wrote “Don Quixote”?

Someone in Turkey. Man, I’m running out of ways to make that joke funny. He, behind you! A distraction!

  1. Who wrote “Les Miserables”?

I love this miracle but names were never my strong suit.

  1. What place is the greatest distance below sea level?

The center of the Earth; otherwise you’d be going up the other side.

  1. What are axe handles made of?

Wood, plexi-glass, plastic, metal…any sturdy material, really.

  1. Who made “The Thinker”?

Rodahn. God I hope I spelled that name right.

  1. Why is a Fahrenheit thermometer called Fahrenheit?

It was named after ze inventor.

  1. Who owned and ran the New York Herald for a long time?

Some rich guy.

  1. What is copra?

I have literally never heard of it. Clippy is asking if you mean “cobra”?

  1. What insect carries malaria?


  1. Who discovered the Pacific Ocean?

People who sailed across it. There is no definitive answer.

  1. What country has the largest output of nickel in the world?

America has the most nickels in the world.

  1. What ingredients are in the best white paint?

“Best” is an opinion statement. Best in what?

  1. What is glucose and how made?

Power for the cell and it’s made from sugar, I think. Man, who thought high-school biology would be helpful!

  1. In what part of the world does it never rain?


  1. What was the approximate population of England, France, Germany and Russia before the war?

No idea. I’d have to go to the library. Sadly, this was a high school quiz question.

  1. Where is the city of Mecca?

Saudi Arabia. 100 years ago, the answer was different.

  1. Where do we get quicksilver from?

Mercury and the Mad Hatter.

  1. Of what are violin strings made?

The sick answer is “Cat intestines.” I really, really hope we use a different material now.

  1. What city on the Atlantic seaboard is the greatest pottery centre?


  1. Who is called the “father of railroads” in the United States?

No idea…

  1. What is the heaviest kind of wood?


  1. What is the lightest wood?