Inventors are inspirational. Alexander Graham Bell was an inventor, as well as, a scientist, engineer, and innovator. He is known to have said: “The inventor is a man who looks around upon the world and is not contented with things as they are. He wants to improve whatever he sees, he wants to benefit the world; he is haunted by an idea. The spirit of invention possesses him, seeking materialization.”
Alexander Bell, Graham was later added to his name, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on March 3, 1847. He had two brothers who both died as young adults of tuberculosis. Alexander started inventing when he was young. When he was 12 he and a friend made a wheat dehusking device and his friend’s father gave them a workshop to invent things in. Alexander’s mother was deaf so he learned a manual finger language to share conversations with her. His father was a published author and elocutionist. His father taught him to write Visible Speech and to identify any symbol and its accompanying sound. When Alexander was 16 he taught elocution and music.
He continued inventing and his work focused on transmitting sound. He began teaching at a private school for the deaf. After his older brother died of tuberculosis, the Bell family moved to Canada. They bought a over 10 acre farm. Bell continued experimenting with sound and electricity. Due to his father’s work Bell ended up working at schools for the deaf in the United States. He later, in 1872, opened up his School of Vocal Physiology and Mechanic of Speech. In 1893, Bell and his former pupil Helen Keller broke ground for the construction of his Volta Bureau. He gave up his private Boston practice to concentrate on his experiments with sound. He continued to teach two students and their fathers were benefactors of Bell’s. Bell hired Thomas A. Watson as an assistant and in 1875. Bell then got a patent for an acoustic telegraph. In 1876 he got his telephone to work transmitting a sentence to Watson in another room. Other inventors were working on similar devices at this time. Work continued and the telephone began being used at further and further distances. The Bell Telephone Company began in 1877. In 1915, the first transcontinental telephone call was made by Bell in New York City to Watson in San Francisco.
In 1877 after starting the Bell Telephone Company Bell married Mabel Hubbard, a former pupil who was deaf. They had four children, two daughters and two sons who both died in infancy. By 1889 Bell had built a summer home in Nova Scotia, Canada. Outbuildings including the Bell Boatyard were built. Bell Boatyard employed people to build experimental craft, wartime lifeboats, and workboats. Bell worked in medical research and invented techniques for speech for the deaf. He worked on a wireless telephone called a photophone. He developed an early version of a metal detector in 1881. In 1891 Bell began experimenting with flight. He supported aerospace engineering research. He worked on optical telecommunications, hydrofoils, and aeronautics. He, also, served as the second president of the National Geographic Society from 1898 until 1903.
Bell was given many honors and tributes, including honorary degrees. These have continued since his death in 1922. He is, also, known to have said: “Self-education is a lifelong affair. There cannot be mental atrophy in any person who continues to observe, to remember what he observes, and to seek answers for his unceasing hows and whys about things.” Be inspired! Have a bright day!