Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell

(1847- 1922)

Early Life

Alexander Graham Bell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on March 3,1847. Alexander Graham Bell was a famous scientist and an inventor who is best known for his invention of the telephone.Even as a young boy Bell was very curious. He loved to experiment with new things and liked to study plants and flowers. His first invention came at the age of 12 when he developed a machine that dehusked wheat. Bell and his best friend, John Herdman, worked at the mill and got tired of the tideous and slow work, which encouraged Bell to create a solution to their problem. Growing up as a child Bell was strongly encouraged by his mothers deafness to study acoustics.


Alexander Graham Bell is most widely known for his invention of the telephone. Bell moved from Canada to Boston, MA in 1871. In 1873 Bell became professor of Vocal Physiology and Elocution at the Boston University School of Oratory. Then in 1874 Bell began his work on the acoustic telegraph. On June 2, 1875, Bell's assistant Thomas Watson, accidentally hit one of the reeds and Bell who was at the receiving end of the wire, heard the overtones of the reeds. Theses overtones were the ones that would be necessary for transmitting speech, not just noises from one end to the other. Also at this time inventor, Elisha Gray, was working with acoustic teleography. His means of communication involved using a water transmitter to transmit speech. On February 14, 1876, Bell's attorney applied for a patent with the U.S. Patent Office. This was done without Bell knowing.That same day Elisha Gray filed for a patent with his water transmitter idea. There was a debate about who was first to arrive to the Patent Office that day. In 1877 Bell created the Bell Telephone Company. Engineers worked on and made improvements to the telephone. In 1879, Bell and his company bought Thomas Edison's patent for the carbon microphone which then made it possible for long distance communication. In 1885 Bell started American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) to operate the long distance telecommunications network. On January 25, 1915, Bell sent the first transcontinental telephone call from New York City to San Francisco where Thomas Watson received it.

Other Inventions

Bell is also credited with inventing the metal detector in 1881. The device was used by doctors to try and locate the bullets that were lodged in President James Garfield. At the time the invention failed because the bed in which James Garfield was lying on had a metal bed frame. Bell also worked on creating a magnetic field on a record player to find a way to reproduce sound. Bell later gave up on the idea not knowing that what he had done and discovered was the basic principle which later led to the invention of the tape recorder, hard disc and floopy disc. He also worked on hydro airplanes which are planes that can land in water. Bell is also credited with inventing the audiometer, a device that can detect minor hearing problems.


On August 2, 1922, Alexander Graham Bell died. The cause of death was pernicious anemia. Bell died at his private estate Beinn Bhreagh, Novia Scotia. He was 75 years old.

Impact on History

Bell's First Sketch of the telephone
Bell's First Sketch of the telephone

Alexander Graham Bell has left a lasting impact on history. He did this by his invention of the telephone.The telephone is found in almost every American household and businesses. Without it we wouldn't be able to communicate with other people from a distance. Bell also helped in the founding of the National Geographic Society, which is still around today and is very active in preserving the history and geography of our world.

Important Events in Bell's Life

  • 1847- Bell is born
  • 1871- Bell moves to Boston
  • 1874- Bell begins his work with acoustic telegraph
  • 1875- Bell and his assistant Thomas Watson stumble across a way for transmitting speech
  • 1876- Bell's attorney applies for a patent for the telephone
  • 1877- Bell forms the Bell Telephone Company
  • 1879- The Bell Telephone Company aquires the rights to Thomas Edison's patent for the carbon microphone making long-distance communication possible
  • 1880- Bell invents the photophone which transmits speech by light rays
  • 1880- Bell receives the Volta Prizefor the invention of the telephone
  • 1881- Bell invents the metal detector
  • 1882- Bell Telephone Company aquires a controlling interest in the Western Telephone Comapany which was Elisha Gray's company
  • 1885- Bell forms the American Telephone and Telegraph Company(AT&T)
  • 1888- Bell becomes a co-founder of the National Geographic Society
  • 1895- Bell's intersts turn towards aeronautics
  • 1896- Bell is elected as the second President of the National Geographic Society1915- Bell and Watson make the first transcontinental telephone call from New York City to San Francisco
  • 1917- Bell invents the "hydrodome" a boat which could reach speeds of 70 mph and was the fastest boat in the world for many years
  • 1922- Alexander Graham Bell dies of pernicious anemia

External Links


"Alexander Graham Bell". Evisum Inc.. 5/30/08 <>.
"Alexander Graham Bell". Wikipedia. 5/30/08 <>.
"Alexander Graham Bell". 5/31/08 <>.
"Alexander Graham Bell". 5/31/08 <>.
"Alexander Graham Bell". The Library of Congress. 6/2/08 <>.