Review: Inventors and Captains of Industry
Frameworks for America's Past
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1.  Who invented the electric light bulb, the
phonograph, and many other devices?


Thomas Edison

Edison is famous for making a business of creating inventions.  The phonograph was his first big success.  The light bulb was his most spectacular achievement.

Edison made so many inventions he was called "The Wizard of Menlo Park" (New Jersey).

2.  Who invented the telephone?

A "candlestick telephone"
from the early 1900s.


Alexander Graham Bell

Bell was a teacher of the deaf when he began his research into sound and electricity.

He developed a way to send voice sounds over an electric wire.  Bell gave the first public  demonstration of his invention, the telephone, in 1876.

3.  Which Captain of Industry made his fortune in
 the shipping and railroad industries?


Cornelius Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt is best known today for expanding the New York Central Railroad in the1860s and 1870s.

He also played a big role before those years in the shipping industry in the waters around New York and Connecticut.

4.  Who is famous for greatly expanding
and improving the steel industry?


Andrew Carnegie

Carnegie was an immigrant from Scotland who went to work at age 13 in a textile mill in Pittsburgh.  He later built up the steel industry and became one of the richest men in America.

Carnegie is also famous for giving away much of his fortune to build libraries in cities all across the country.  

5.  Which business leader built up and
eventually controlled most of the oil industry?


John D. Rockefeller

Rockefeller grew up in a fairly poor farm family in New York State.  He later became famous and very wealthy as the head of the Standard Oil Company.

Rockefeller (far left) gave away over half his fortune to support education, medical research, and the arts.  

7.  Who was the famous banker who built his fortune
with his talent for business investment?


J. P. Morgan

J. P. Morgan put up the money to help Thomas Edison turn his invention, the first practical light bulb, into a great nationwide business.  

Morgan's talent for business helped start or expand many famous American companies, including General Electric.  

The patent drawing image is from the National Archives.
The drawings of inventors are from the Dover Pictorial Archive and other sources.
The photos are from the Library of Congress. 
Some photos and images have been edited or resized for this page.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright 2009, 2016 by David Burns.  All rights reserved.  As a guide to the Virginia Standards of Learning, some pages necessarily include phrases or sentences from that document, which is available online from the Virginia Department of Education.  The author's copyright extends to the original text and graphics, unique design and layout, and related material.