Bell, Alexander Graham

Bell, Alexander Graham
SUBJECT AREA: Telecommunications
b. 3 March 1847 Edinburgh, Scotland
d. 3 August 1922 Beinn Bhreagh, Baddeck, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada
Scottish/American inventor of the telephone.
Bell's grandfather was a professor of elocution in London and his father an authority on the physiology of the voice and on elocution; Bell was to follow in their footsteps. He was educated in Edinburgh, leaving school at 13. In 1863 he went to Elgin, Morayshire, as a pupil teacher in elocution, with a year's break to study at Edinburgh University; it was in 1865, while still in Elgin, that he first conceived the idea of the electrical transmission of speech. He went as a master to Somersetshire College, Bath (now in Avon), and in 1867 he moved to London to assist his father, who had taken up the grandfather's work in elocution. In the same year, he matriculated at London University, studying anatomy and physiology, and also began teaching the deaf. He continued to pursue the studies that were to lead to the invention of the telephone. At this time he read Helmholtz's The Sensations of Tone, an important work on the theory of sound that was to exert a considerable influence on him.
In 1870 he accompanied his parents when they emigrated to Canada. His work for the deaf gained fame in both Canada and the USA, and in 1873 he was apponted professor of vocal physiology and the mechanics of speech at Boston University, Massachusetts. There, he continued to work on his theory that sound wave vibrations could be converted into a fluctuating electric current, be sent along a wire and then be converted back into sound waves by means of a receiver. He approached the problem from the background of the theory of sound and voice production rather than from that of electrical science, and by 1875 he had succeeded in constructing a rough model. On 7 March 1876 Bell spoke the famous command to his assistant, "Mr Watson, come here, I want you": this was the first time a human voice had been transmitted along a wire. Only three days earlier, Bell's first patent for the telephone had been granted. Almost simultaneously, but quite independently, Elisha Gray had achieved a similar result. After a period of litigation, the US Supreme Court awarded Bell priority, although Gray's device was technically superior.
In 1877, three years after becoming a naturalized US citizen, Bell married the deaf daughter of his first backer. In August of that year, they travelled to Europe to combine a honeymoon with promotion of the telephone. Bell's patent was possibly the most valuable ever issued, for it gave birth to what later became the world's largest private service organization, the Bell Telephone Company.
Bell had other scientific and technological interests: he made improvements in telegraphy and in Edison's gramophone, and he also developed a keen interest in aeronautics, working on Curtiss's flying machine. Bell founded the celebrated periodical Science.
Principal Honours and Distinctions
Legion of Honour; Hughes Medal, Royal Society, 1913.
Further Reading
Obituary, 7 August 1922, The Times. Dictionary of American Biography.
R.Burlingame, 1964, Out of Silence into Sound, London: Macmillan.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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  • Bell,Alexander Graham — Bell, Alexander Graham. 1847 1922. Library of Congress Scottish born American inventor of the telephone. The first demonstration of electrical transmission of speech by his apparatus took place in 1876. Bell also invented the audiometer, an early …   Universalium

  • Bell, Alexander Graham — born March 3, 1847, Edinburgh, Scot. died Aug. 2, 1922, Beinn Bhreagh, Nova Scotia, Can. Scottish born U.S. audiologist and inventor. He moved to the U.S. in 1871 to teach the visible speech system developed by his father, Alexander Melville Bell …   Universalium

  • Bell , Alexander Graham — (1847–1922) British inventor Bell s family were practitioners in elocution and speech correction and he himself trained in this. Born in Edinburgh, as a child he was taught mainly at home. For a short time he attended Edinburgh University and… …   Scientists

  • Bell, Alexander Graham — ► (1847 1922) Físico estadounidense. La problemática de la enseñanza de los sordomudos le impulsó a llevar a cabo diversos estudios e investigaciones sobre el sonido. Inventó el teléfono (1876) y fundó la empresa de telecomunicaciones ATT. * * *… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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  • Bell, Alexander Graham — (1847 )    Born in Edinburgh, Scotland. Educated at Edinburgh University and London University; came to Canada in 1870. Professor of physiology in Boston University, 1872. Patented his invention of the telephone, 1876; and has also invented the… …   The makers of Canada

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  • Alexander Graham Bell — (* 3. März 1847 in Edinburgh, Schottland; † 1. August 1922 in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, Kanada), war ein britischer Sprechtherapeut, Erfinder und Großunternehmer. Er gilt als der erste Mensch, der aus der Erfindung des Telefons Kapital geschlagen hat …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alexander Graham Bell — Infobox Person name = Alexander Graham Bell image size = 225px caption = Portrait of Alexander Graham Bell c. 1910 birth date = 3 March 1847 birth place = Edinburgh, Scotland, UK death date = death date and age|1922|8|2|1847|3|3|df=y death place …   Wikipedia

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