Who Was Alexander Graham Bell?

Graham Alexander Graham Bell is most famous because he invented the telephone, but he was also a teacher of deaf and dumb people and a distinguished scientist. He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1847. Bell worked with his father, Alexander Melville Bell, who invented a system of lipreading for the education of   deaf   mutes  (people born  deaf  who never know what speech sounds like, and so are unable to learn to speak). In 1871, Alexander Graham Bell came to the United States from London to teach this new way of educating the deaf to students at Boston University. Here he continued his work on an invention to send sound over wires.

Bell’s interest in sound and vibration as they helped him in his work with the deaf probably had a great deal to do with his work on the telephone. Bell worked on his idea for sending messages by electric waves for about ten years, but it was not until 1875 that the way it might be done came to him. On March 10, 1876, while Bell was working in his laboratory, he spilled something on his suit and called to his assistant two floors above, “Mr. Watson, come here; I want you.” This was the first telephone message. Bell spoke these same words to Watson again in 1915 when the first cross-country telephone call was made. But this time Watson could answer and said, “It would take me a week now.”

Many other men worked on the idea of sending sound over wires, but Bell’s telephone was the first to send spoken messages and to allow two people to talk to each other. Earlier telephones had a single opening through which a person spoke and listened. Modern telephones are more private, but the basic idea of the telephone is much the same as Bell first planned it. Bell died in 1922.