Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell Photo

On March 3 1847, an influential human came to this world in Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh. An unforgettable individual, Alexander Graham Bell, is known to the world for his remarkable inventions. In the span of his life and career, he gave the world a very important gadget, telephone, which is still in use. His last name, Bell, is undoubtedly synonymous to the word used for the ‘ringing’ of the phone. Alexander was unquestionably a distinguished Scottish inventor, scientist, innovator and engineer.

His grandfather, father and brother were all associated with speech and elocution work. It could be said that their influence was profoundly due to Bell’s wife and mother, since they were deaf. Alexander’s research on speech and hearing led him to experiment with audio devices. This eventually wrapped up with him receiving a United States patent in 1876 for the telephone. Despite this honor, the inventor refused to have the intrusion of his creation in his scientific studies.

Later in his life, he invented groundbreaking technologies that are admired and used even today; such as the aeronautics, optical telecommunications and hydrofoils. By the late 1880s, he was among the founding associates of the National Geographic Society.

Graham’s father Melville was a Professor, who used to call his son “Aleck” while “Graham” remained his middle name so he could be distinguished. The family lived at 26 South Charlotte Street, with a stone with text marking his Graham’s birthplace. Ben Herdman was his best friend, and had a family flour mill. Garham’s first invention was a homemade mechanism that united nail brushes with rotating paddles, creating a dehusking device. This proved to be helpful for his friend’s family business and as a result the two young boys were given an undersized workshop by John Herdman, to “invent” machines.

In addition to his mechanical brain, Bell was also very fond toward music, poetry and art. This side of his came from his mother who encouraged such things. Indisputably, Graham was a remarkably intelligent person. He perfected piano playing without any proper training. He was also interested in voice tricks and mimicry, that usually entertained relatives during their frequents visits, even though Graham was normally introspective and quiet. He was close to his mother and intensely affected by her continuing deafness. He learnt sign language, so that he could convey the swirling family conversations to his mother. This preoccupation of his led him to study about acoustics.

As a child, Graham received his primary schooling from home via his father. He then enrolled in the Royal High School but left soon enough. Unbelievable as it may sound, his performance at school was recorded as the worst, with jaded grades and absenteeism. That said, his curiosity remained in science, particularly biology. After school, Graham went to London with Alexander Bell, his grandfather, and gradually developed a love for learning. Later, he joined University of Edinburgh and then the University of London for further studies.

After the establishment of Bell Telephone Company in 1877, he married Mabel Hubbard. They had two daughters. During the course of his career, Alexander Graham Bell received twelve honorary degrees. Other than working on hearing and sound, he also worked on wireless telephone, metal detector, aeronautics and hydrofoils.


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