The Edison Job Quiz
The Edison Job Quiz
Thomas Edison had an encyclopedic memory and expected job applicants to have a similar knowledge. The test he administered to every job seeker had 150 questions; each test was tailored for a specific job. Some of the things college graduates were expected to know:
What city in the United States is noted for its laundry-machine making?
Who was Leonidas?
Who invented logarithms?
Where is Magdalena Bay?
What is the first line in the
What is the weight of air in a room 10 by 20 x 30 feet?
What voltage is used on streetcars?
Cabinet makers had to know:
Which countries supply the most mahogany?
Who was the Roman emperor when Jesus Christ was born?
Masons were asked:
How many cubic yards of concrete in a wall 12 by 20 by 2 feet?
Who assassinated President Lincoln?
Edison did not demand perfect scores--merely 90 percent, which has been likened to having an IQ of 180. Out of 718 college men Edison tested for jobs, only 10 percent got a "fair" or passing grade. Edison said, "Only 2 percent of the people think, as I gather from my questionnaire." Magazines, which loved running stories on Edison's employment test, gave Edison pop quizzes with similar questions on a variety of subjects. He averaged 95 percent.
The Ol'Kunnel could only manage to answer a few of the questions in the test above. Like "The Donald," Mr. Edison would have told me, "
Here are the answers. How did you do?
Spartan general who died at Thermopylae
Arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus aboris
Air at 0.075 pounds per cubic foot x 6,000=450 pounds
, at the time
17.78 cubic yards
John Wilkes Booth
Knew or guessed that!
But the Ol'Kunnel is humbled at knowing so little....
-- Edited sidebar from page 50,
U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT, OCTOBER 11, 2004
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