Who wants to remain impoverished?

Edison Dollar

September 2000
This article is part of the Noteworthy News archives.

Copyright 2016 Lynn Bilton

Time for a quiz. Today's puzzler won't make you as rich as Bill Gates or even Regin Philbin--in fact, it won't earn you a penny. What's more, some of the questions are cunningly devious or even downright misleading.

Are you ready to begin?

(Answers at end)

Second banana
Who was the second man to articulate the principle of the phonograph?
a. Alexander Graham Bell
b. Thomas Edison
c. Charles Cros

Guys and dolls
Following the talking doll disaster of 1890, how did Edison dispose of the unsold dolls?
a. buried them on the factory grounds
b. donated them to needy children in New Jersey
c. presented them as a Christmas gift to his employees

Call Blue Cross
Who founded the Society for the Prevention of Sickness, and why?
a. Emile Berliner, to pasteurize milk
b. Thomas Edison, to reduce employee absenteeism
c. Wynant Bradley, father of the Talk-o-Phone, as a mail order scam

Talent scouts
What famous person discovered singer Ada Jones, and where?
a. Sir Harry Lauder, at a music hall in her native England
b. Billy Murray, at a street show in New York
c. Edison himself, on a trip to London, following a tip by his agent Colonel Gouraud

Final accounting
Crippled by the depression and the magnetic milling debacle, Edison was able to leave how much to his heirs upon his death in 1931?
a. Around $450,000
b. Around $2 million
c. Around $12 million

Just his deserts
A steak and potatoes man, Edison's favorite after-dinner treat was what?
a. apple pie
b. cherry cobbler
c. buttered radishes

The year the music died
During what year were no musical recording made, except for a few harmonica recordings?
a. 1885
b. 1917
c. 1943

Hoist the Jolly Rodger
"A bunch of pirates...I'll show them they can't get away with it" was Edison's response to what provocation?
a. a rousing performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance
b. his lawyers' bill following litigation with the telephone trust
c. the invention of the Graphophone

So you thought you knew opera
In 1906 a series of historic recordings was made involving Craig-y-Nos. Who or what was Craig-y-Nos?
a. an ancient French system of musical notation
b. Adelina Patti's castle
c. The second husband of Dame Nellie Melba

Dogging it
Francis Baraud first painted Nipper listening to an Edison-Bell phonograph. He then repainted his work with a brass bell horn. Why?
a. He sold the rights to the painting to the Gramophone company.
b. Critics suggested the original black horn wasn't brilliant enough.
c. Nipper was sitting on a casket, and a casket company was interested in purchasing the painting.

Those fabulous French
Where did Gustave Eiffel install an Edison phonograph?
a. his office in the Eiffel tower
b. the palace at Versailles
c. Nowhere--Eiffel despised the phonograph because it was not a French invention and petitioned the government to ban it.

The Old Couple
Postcard depicting the Old Couple.
How were they indentured to Edison?
Signora citizen
Edison's Old Couple advertising portrait, painted by Italian artist Pompeo Massani, originated under what circumstances?
a. It was originally painted showing an Edison-Bell phonograph.
b. It was originally painted showing a Puck phonograph.
c. It was an original commission by Edison.

Small wonders
What was the relationship of the Little Wonder Phonograph to the Little Wonder record company?
a. the Little Wonder phonograph company sold the machine at cost, in order to sell the records.
b. no relationship
c. The stock of both was held by a businessman 4'9" tall.

No more roamin'
As a struggling young artist, Harry Lauder almost returned to his original occupation. What was it?
a. coal miner
b. tailor
c. school teacher

Shoot, the piano player
The piano did not record wll acoustically. How was it recorded?
a. A grand piano was tipped on its side, and a special linkage removed.
b. An upright piano was elevated, and its back removed.
c. An oversize zylophone, known as a Stroh Zylophone, was substituted for it.

Who is buried in Grant's tomb?
Edison and Bell-Tainter machines were stellar attractions at the 1892 Chicago World's Fair. During what year did the 1892 fair occur?
a. 1892
b. 1893
c. 1895

Oh la la!
Following the introduction of the Victrola, it seemed obligatory to end the name of every product with the suffix "ola." Which of the following was not an honest-to-god product?
a. Robinola (a talking machine)
b. Grape-ola (a drink)
c. Puffm-upola (a yeast)

Undercolor of title
Which of the following colors, or combination of colors, was not used by Victor records prior to 1912?
a. orange labels, green labels
b. red and green labels, purple labels
c. purple labels, black labels

William Jennings Bryan
Bryan, the campaign of 1900
This is your final answer
William Jennings Bryan recorded his Speech to Labor in 1900. Assume that the Silver Throated Orator of the Plains was nibbling on his favorite munchie in the studio. What was his treat?
a. apple pie
b. cherry cobbler
c. buttered radishes

The answers:
Second banana: b (Cros' sealed deposition preceded Edison)
Guys and dolls: a
Call Blue Cross: a
Talent scouts: b
Final accounting: c
Just his deserts: a
The year the music died: c (musicians' strike)
Hoist the Jolly Rodger: c
So you thought you knew opera: b
Dogging it: b (Repainted with a gramophone. The legend of the painting being rejected by Edison may be apocryphal.)
Those fabulous French: a
Signora citizen: b
Small wonders: b
No more roamin': a
Shoot, the piano player: b
Who is buried in Grant's tomb?: b (postponed for a year due to extensive preparations)
Oh la la! c
Undercolor of title: a (a few records bore Scotch plaid titles)
This is your final answer: c

Lynn Bilton
Box 435
Randolph,OH 44265
330 325-7866


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