Alexander Graham Bell is recognised as one of the greatest scientists, inventors and engineers of all time. Credited with inventing the world’s first fully-functioning telephone, here we will take a look at the life and work of this amazing man, whose contributions to the field of engineering completely revolutionised society.
Alexander Graham Bell was born in Edinburgh on 3rd March 1847, growing up and being educated there and in London. In 1870, Bell immigrated with his family to Canada, then moving to the United States in 1871 to teach English.
Bell’s father and grandfather were both pioneers in the field of elocution, which sparked his fascination with the mechanics of speech. When teaching in the United States, he pioneered his father’s technique of visible speech in order to teach deaf-mute children, which lead him to open his own school for the deaf in Boston in 1872.
Having long been fascinated with speech and the idea of transmitting it over distance, Alexander Graham Bell began to develop the idea of the telephone.
By 1875, Bell had put together a single receiver that was able to convert electricity into sound. Bell was granted the patent for the telephone on 7th March 1876 and began to develop the final product quickly.
A telephone exchange was built in Connecticut in 1877, and the Bell Telephone Company was founded in the same year, which quickly gained Bell a significant amount of wealth.
Bell founded the Volta Laboratory in Washington with the prize money he won as part of the French Volta Prize in 1880. Here, he continued his experiments in the fields of communication, medical science, and teaching speech to the deaf. Most notably, Alexander Graham Bell worked with Helen Keller in 1902.
In 1885, Bell acquired a significant amount of land in Nova Scotia, where he built a summer home to continue his experiments. In 1888, Bell was a founding member of the National Geographic Society, where he served as president until 1904.
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