Alexander Graham Bell
Born March 3, 1847
Died August 2, 1922
Alexander Graham Bell was born on March 3, 1847 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He later immigrated to Canada in 1870. Bell later moved to Boston, Massachusetts where he worked as a professor at the Boston School for the Deaf. On April 1, 1871 Bell began to use his fatherís system of "visible speech" for the deaf.
On June 3, 1875 in Boston, Massachusetts, Bell was attempting to build a machine to enable deaf people to learn to speak, when a sound was transmitted across the wires. The sound had been his assistant Thomas Watson trying to free a stuck piece of equipment. This, "harmonic telegraph", as Bell called it, was a precursor to the telephone.
Later, on March 10, 1876 Bell successfully transmitted his voice by wire. He was working at home with his assistant Thomas Watson. Watson was on another floor when Bell accidentally spilled battery acid on his own leg. Alarmed Bell cried, "Watson, come here, I need you." Watson heard Bellís call over the instrument in the room and ran down to tell him the news.
In Philadelphia on June 25, 1876 Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated his new invention, the telephone. It was at the countryís Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia that Bellís telephone was one of the exhibits. He demonstrated how it worked by reciting Hamlet. He planned to raise money to begin a telephone company by speaking to Thomas Watson in one theater from another theater.
In Boston, on August 1, 1877 Alexander Graham Bell incorporated The Bell Telephone Company. A total of 778 telephones were put into service.
It wasnít until after Bell had applied for several patents and invented the telephone that he became an American citizen on November 10, 1882.
Try the activity "Sending Signals" to see how you would send someone a message over a short distance.
Books for Children
- Incredible Inventions, by Philip Wilkinson - This book has interesting facts and tidbits for children from age four through adult. It discusses the wheel, the telephone, the computer, and lots of inventions in between(amazon.com has it ).
- Incredible Flying Machines, by Christopher Maynard (amazon.com has it ).
- The Alexander Graham Bell Page has a short biography describing the time leading up to and including his invention of the telephone at the National Inventor's Hall of Fame by Inventure Place
- The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing