Alexander Graham Bell |
Portrait of Alexander Graham Bellc.1914–19 |
Born | March 3, 1847
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK |
Died | August 2, 1922(1922-08-02) (aged 75)
Beinn Bhreagh, Nova Scotia, Canada |
Cause of death | Complications from diabetes |
Education | University of Edinburgh
University College London |
Occupation | Inventor
EngineerProfessor (Boston University)
Teacher of the deaf |
Known for | Inventing the Telephone |
Spouse | Mabel Hubbard
(married 1877–1922) |
Children | (4) Two sons who died in infancy and two daughters |
Parents | Alexander Melville Bell
Eliza Grace Symonds Bell |
Relatives | Gardiner Greene Hubbard (father-in-law)
Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor (son-in-law)
Melville Bell Grosvenor (grandson)Gilbert Melville Grosvenor (great-grandson)
Chichester Bell (cousin) |
Signature | |
Alexander Graham Bell (March 3, 1847 – August 2, 1922) was an eminent scientist, inventor, engineer and innovator who is credited with inventing the first practical telephone.[N 1]
Bell's father, grandfather, and brother had all been associated with work on elocution and speech, and both his mother and wife weredeaf, profoundly influencing Bell's life's work. His research on hearing and speech further led him to experiment with hearing devices which eventually culminated in Bell being awarded the first US patent for the telephone in 1876.[N 2] In retrospect, Bell considered his most famous invention an intrusion on his real work as a scientist and refused to have a telephone in his study.
Manyother inventions marked Bell's later life, including groundbreaking work in optical telecommunications, hydrofoils and aeronautics. In 1888, Alexander Graham Bell became one of the founding members of the National Geographic Society. Bell has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history.
Alexander Bell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on March3, 1847. The family home was at 16 South Charlotte Street, and has a stone inscription, marking it as Alexander Graham Bell's birthplace. He had two brothers: Melville James Bell (1845–70) and Edward Charles Bell (1848–67). Both of his brothers died of tuberculosis. His father was Professor Alexander Melville Bell, and his mother was Eliza Grace (née Symonds).[N 3] Although he was born"Alexander", at age 10, he made a plea to his father to have a middle name like his two brothers.[N 4] For his 11th birthday, his father acquiesced and allowed him to adopt the middle name "Graham", chosen out of admiration for Alexander Graham, a Canadian being treated by his father and boarder who had become a family friend. To close relatives and friends he remained "Aleck" which his fathercontinued to call him into later life.
As a child, young Alexander displayed a natural curiosity about his world, resulting in gathering botanical specimens as well as experimenting even at an early age. His best friend was Ben Herdman, a neighbor whose family operated a flour mill, the scene of many forays. Young Aleck asked what needed to be done at the mill. He was toldwheat had to be dehusked through a laborious process and at the age of 12, Bell built a homemade device that combined rotating paddles with sets of nail brushes, creating a simple dehusking machine that was put into operation and used steadily for a number of years. In return, John Herdman gave both boys the run of a small workshop within which to "invent".
From his early years, Bell showeda sensitive nature and a talent for art, poetry and music that was encouraged by his mother. With no formal training, he mastered the piano and became the family's pianist. Despite being normally quiet and introspective, he reveled in mimicry and "voice tricks" akin to ventriloquism that continually entertained family guests during their occasional visits. Bell was also deeply affected...