Alexander Graham Bell Biography

Alexander Graham Bell (March 3, 1847 – Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada, 2 August 1922). Scientist, Inventor, Logopeda and Entrepreneur of Scottish origin, inventor of the Phone, device that shortened distances and revolutionized communications forever.


He is also recognized for his great research and pedagogical work in the area of communication and teaching of people with hearing impairments. Being considered one of the most influential people in history.

Early years

He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 3 March 1847. He was the second son of Alexander Melville and Eliza Gracia Symonds Bell, along with his brothers Milville James Bell (1845–1870) and Edward Charles Bell (1848–1867) who died a few years after tuberculosis.

Growing up in a world dedicated to the study of Language and Communication, his father was an expert in Logopedia, who had managed to develop a Sign Language system, which he called “visual discourse”. His grandfather was also a speech therapist. And her mother was a person with moderate hearing impairment, who had nonetheless become a virtuous pianist.

Working with People with Disabilities

During his early years, he was homeschooled by his mother, finishing his studies, at the age of fifteen, at the Royal High School in Edinburgh, where he did not excel as a student. At the age of sixteen, he began working with his father in the field of research and care for the hearing impaired.

In July 1870, after the death of his brother Milville James, the family moved to Branrford, Ontario, Canada.  There, Graham Bell opened a workshop to continue his research on the human voice.

A year later, they moved again, settling in the United States, where Graham Bell opened a school for deaf-mute children, pioneering the teaching of sign language, created by his father.

In 1872 he founded in Platoon a school for teachers of the hearing impaired, calling the interest of the University of Wnon, who took over the project as his own, appointing Graham Bell professor of Vocal Physiology.

The Phone and the Bell Telephone Company

It was around this time that he began working on the design of the “Harmonic Telegraph”, which would allow the telegraphic transmission of several simultaneous messages using different frequencies.

During his research, he also became interested in the possibility of developing a mechanism that would allow the transmission of the voice, through a cable.

With the help of electrician Thomas Watson and financial support from investors Thomas Sanders and Gardiner Hubbard, parents of George Sanders and Mabel Hubbard (whom he would marry in 1877) two of his hearing-impaired students, Graham Bell embarked, between 1874 and 1875, in an arduous research to develop both the harmonic telegraph and the transmission device.

Fearing that someone would be brought forward to them, on March 7, 1876, they registered a patent for the invention of the phone, although they had not yet achieved their goal.

Surprisingly, three days later, on March 10, 1876, while Graham Bell was in the lab, he accidentally spilled a fluid transmitter, an event that made him call his companion out loud, who in another room managed to hear through the device what Graham Bell was saying, thus receiving the first phone call.

However, some consider inventor Antonio Meucci, who in 1860 to publicly show the “telestrophone” through which a singer transmitted his voice from a distance. Meucci was unable to complete the patent process, for lack of financial resources, and was finally patented in 1876 by Graham Bell, who also developed a remote voice transmission device.

Alexander Graham Bell then began a national tour to make public demonstrations of his invention. In 1876, the phone was displayed at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. On July 9, 1877, Grahan Bell inaugurated the Bell Telephone Company, the world’s first telephone company, which for eighteen years had to face more than 550 patent trials, without any of any legal success.

Other contributions and inventions

On July 11, 1877, he married Mable Hubbard. In 1880 he was awarded the Volta Prize, with whose money he founded the Volta Laboratory, dedicated to medical and scientific research of the communication techniques of people with auditory commitment.

In 1882, he finally became an American citizen. At that time he decided to devote himself entirely to his work of invention. Together with Charles Summer Tainter he created the graphophone, one of the first voice recording devices. He also created the first album of phonographic wax, invented the photographer and founded the journal Science. In 1888, he participated in the founding of the Nathional Geographic Society, which he presided over from 1896 to 1904, also creating his magazine.

In 1890, he created the American Association for the Promotion of the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf. He was also interested in aviation. In 1885 he bought a property in Nova Scotia, where he deepened his research in this area. In 1907 he was part of the Experimental Association that built the “silver dart”, the first motorized machine to sail the Canadian sky.

Late years

In early 1915, he was invited to make the first transcontinental phone call. On August 2, 1922, Alexander Graham Bell died in Baddek, Nova Scotia, leaving more than 18 patents as a legacy. The Telephone System ceased its functions completely for a minute, in honor of the memory of a man who with his work and inventiveness changed the world of communications forever.

Image source: biography.com

Alexander Graham Bell Biography
Source: Education  
July 27, 2019


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