One of the most famous scientists of the late 19th to early 20th century was Alexander Graham Bell. He is most renowned as the inventor of the telephone, one of the main forms of communication today.
But who was Graham Bell behind his inventions? What lead him to those inventions? What happened during his life?
This great inventor was born in Edinburgh, Scotlandon March 3, 1847. His parents were Professor Alexander Meville Bell and Eliza Grace. Alexander Graham Bell's middle name Graham was given to him by his father was given to him by his father on his 11th birthday, a name given out of admiration of their Canadian boarder Alexander Graham. His nickname was Aleck. He also had two brothers Meville James Bell, and Edward Charles Bell.
The child Alexander Graham bell was very curious about the natural world, often even performing botanical experiments. When he was 12, he built a simple dehusking machine for his neighbour who was a miller. In return his neighbour gave his the run of a small workshop. However, Graham Bell wasn't only interested in the sciences; he also displayed a talent for the arts. He mastered the piano (without formal training), and mimicry. Lastly, Graham Bell was also had a knack for learning languages, able to help in deciphering Sanskrit symbols in his Father's performances at a young age. But despite all of these talents, Graham Bell was still normally quiet.
When Graham was 12, his mother Grace also slowly became deaf. Graham Bell's response was to develop a silent tapping system, by which he could tap out words top his mother. His mother's deafness also led Graham Bell to study acoustics. This was one of the events which would lead Graham Bell to his work with the deaf.
Until he was young, Graham Bell was taught by his father, and then he enrolled at the Royal High School (RHS) in Edinburgh Scotland. His main interest was biology. Overall, like Einstein, he did poorly in other subjects where he had a lack of interest. He left at the age of 15. He was also often absent. However Graham Bell did become a teacher. This change occurred when he moved in with his grandfather, with whom he often studied and conversed. Graham Bell became a pupil-teacher at the age of 16 in the Weston House Academy in Elgin, Moray, Scotland. He did not teach the sciences, but rather the arts elocution and music. Afterwards, he enrolled at the University of Edinburgh.
In 1863, graham Bell's father took him and his brother to see an automaton that could stimulate a humans voice (like a primitive sound box). Following this event, the Bell brothers built their own automaton, using tuning forks to control resonance. By utilizing this device, the Bell brothers managed to make it seem as if their dog could talk. This talking dog invention would become the first of Alexander Graham Bell's experiments with sound.
Following this event Graham Bell's bells life was marked by two tragedies. One of his brothers Edward died of tuberculosis in 1867. During this time, Graham Bell remained a teacher and taught two pupils who were deaf. It was also during this troubled time that graham Bell started to experiment with moving sound via electricity. His other Brother Meville actually opened an elocution school, applied for a patent and started to raise a family. However Meville's potential was cut short by his death of tuberculosis in 1870. Following this second tragedy, graham Bell's Family moved to Ontario in Canada.
In Canada Graham Bell continued translated the nearby Mohawk verbal vocabulary into visible speech symbols. He also taught instructors for people who were deaf. Afterwards Graham bell set up a school in Boston in USA called Vocal Physiology and Mechanics of speech, which had 30 deaf students.
His experiments with sound were not neglected during this time, developing a harmonic telegraph, and improving it. However, as he was also a very busy teacher, he had to stay up at night in order to work on this device. He was also highly stressed out as he was worried about his ideas being stolen. Due to the resulting stress and lack of rest, graham Bell's health started to decline. This forced him to choose between the deaf and sound. He chose sound, closing his school in Boston, though he still kept two pupils.
In 1874, two wealthy patrons began funding graham Bell's work, and in 1875, he was able to hire Thomas Watson as his assistant, with whom he developed the acoustic telegraph-often referred to as the telephone. The telephone is considered to be Graham Bell's greatest invention, though he would not allow a telephone to be near him when he conducted his later experiments. Afterwards Graham bell formed the Bell Company to market his invention. He offered to sell his patent for $100,000 to the Western Union, who refused. Later the western union president announced that it would have been a bargain to get the patent for $25 million.
Alexander Graham Bell married Mabel Hubbard, one of his former pupils, in 1877. Their courtship had started much earlier, but Graham Bell held off from marrying until he was financially secure. They had four children. Alexander also received citizenship of Canada, Us, and Scotland; though he said "I am not one of those hyphenated Americans who claim allegiance to two countries." Graham Bell built a summer home in Nova Scotia in 1885, and later a lodge at Baddeck in 1889. This lodge later became a workshop for his experiments. He continued inventing, with varying interests. The Bells also helped mobilize their local community in Baddeck after the Halifax explosion of 1917.
Alexander Graham Bell was also connected to the eugenics movement. This views where mostly due to his experiences with those who were deaf.
Alexander Graham Bell died of diabetes on August 2, 1922. Over the course of his life, it appears that he had a passion for many things. Over the course of time, however, Graham Bell had to choose, but ultimately, he managed to accomplish a lot in many fields.