Alexander Graham Bell
(March 3, 1847 â€“ August
2, 1922) was an eminent scientist
is credited with inventing the first practical telephone
Bell's father, grandfather, and brother had all been associated
with work on elocution
, and both his mother and wife were deaf,
profoundly influencing Bell's life's work. His research on hearing
and speech further led him to experiment with hearing devices which
eventually culminated in Bell being awarded the first U.S. patent
for the telephone in
1876. In retrospect, Bell considered his most famous invention an
intrusion on his real work as a scientist and refused to have a
telephone in his study.
Many other inventions marked Bell's later life, including
groundbreaking work in optical telecommunications
. In 1888, Alexander Graham Bell became one of
the founding members of the National Geographic Society.
Bell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on March 3,
The family home was at 16 South Charlotte Street,
Edinburgh, Scotland, and now has a commemorative marker at the
doorstep, marking it as Alexander Graham Bell's birthplace. He had
two brothers: Melville James Bell (1845â€“1870) and Edward Charles
Bell (1848â€“1867). Both of his brothers died of tuberculosis
. His father was Professor Alexander Melville Bell
, and his
mother was Eliza Grace (nÃ©e Symonds). Although he was born
"Alexander", at age ten, he made a plea to his father to have a
like his two brothers. For
his 11th birthday, his father acquiesced and allowed him to adopt
the middle name "Graham", chosen out of admiration for Alexander
Graham, a Canadian being treated by his father and boarder who had
become a family friend. To close relatives and friends he remained
"Aleck" which his father continued to call him into later
As a child, young Alexander Graham Bell displayed a natural
curiosity about his world, resulting in gathering botanical
specimens as well as experimenting
even at an early age. His best friend
was Ben Herdman, a neighbour whose
family operated a flour mill
, the scene of
many forays. Young Aleck asked what needed to be done at the mill.
He was told wheat had to be dehusked through a laborious process
and at the age of 12, Bell built a homemade device that combined
rotating paddles with sets of nail brushes, creating a simple
dehusking machine that was put into operation and used steadily for
a number of years. In return, John Herdman gave both boys the run
of a small workshop within which to "invent".
From his early years, Bell showed a sensitive nature and a talent
for art, poetry and music that was encouraged by his mother. With
no formal training, he mastered the piano
became the family's pianist. Despite being normally quiet and
introspective, he reveled in mimicry and "voice tricks" akin to
entertained family guests during their occasional visits. Bell was
also deeply affected by his mother's gradual deafness, (she began
to lose her hearing when he was 12) and learned a manual finger
language so he could sit at her side and tap out silently the
conversations swirling around the family parlour. He also developed
a technique of speaking in clear, modulated tones directly into his
mother's forehead wherein she would hear him with reasonable
clarity. Bell's preoccupation with his mother's deafness led him to
was long associated with the teaching of elocution: his grandfather, Alexander Bell, in
London, his uncle in Dublin, and his
father, in Edinburgh, were all elocutionists.
published a variety of works on the subject, several of which are
still well known, especially his The Standard Elocutionist
(1860), which appeared in Edinburgh in 1868. The Standard
appeared in 168 British editions and sold over a
quarter of a million copies in the United States alone. In this
treatise, his father explains his methods of how to instruct
(as they were then known) to
articulate words and read other people's lip movements to decipher
meaning. Aleck's father taught him and his brothers not only to
write Visible Speech
but also to
identify any symbol and its accompanying sound. Aleck became so
proficient that he became a part of his father's public
demonstrations and astounded audiences with his abilities in
and even Sanskrit
As a young child, Bell, like his brothers, received his early
schooling at home from his father. At an early age, however, he was enrolled
at the Royal High School, Edinburgh, Scotland, which he left at age 15,
completing only the first four forms.
His school record was
undistinguished, marked by absenteeism
and lacklustre grades. His main interest remained in the sciences,
especially biology, while he treated other school subjects with
indifference, to the dismay of his demanding father. Upon leaving
school, Bell travelled to London to live with his grandfather,
Alexander Bell. During the year he spent with his grandfather, a
love of learning was born, with long hours spent in serious
discussion and study. The elder Bell took great efforts to have his
young pupil learn to speak clearly and with conviction, the
attributes that his pupil would need to become a teacher himself.
At age 16,
Bell secured a position as a "pupil-teacher" of elocution and music, in Weston House Academy, at
Although he was enrolled as a student in Latin and
Greek, he instructed classes himself in return for board and Â£10
per session. The following year, he attended the University of Edinburgh
; joining his
older brother Melville who had enrolled there the previous
First experiments with sound
Bell's father encouraged Aleck's interest in speech and, in 1863,
took his sons to see a unique automaton
developed by Sir Charles
based on the earlier work of Baron Wolfgang von Kempelen
rudimentary "mechanical man" simulated a human voice
. Aleck was fascinated by the machine
and after he obtained a copy of von Kempelen's book, published in
German, and had laboriously translated it, he and his older brother
Melville built their own automaton head. Their father, highly
interested in their project, offered to pay for any supplies and
spurred the boys on with the enticement of a "big prize" if they
were successful. While his brother constructed the throat
tackled the more difficult task of recreating a realistic skull.
His efforts resulted in a remarkably lifelike head that could
"speak", albeit only a few words. The boys would carefully adjust
the "lips" and when a bellows
through the windpipe
, a very
recognizable "Mama" ensued, to the delight of neighbors who came to
see the Bell invention.
Intrigued by the results of the automaton, Bell continued to
experiment with a live subject, the family's Skye Terrier
, "Trouve". After he taught it to
growl continuously, Aleck would reach into its mouth and manipulate
the dog's lips and vocal cords
produce a crude-sounding "Ow ah oo ga ma ma." With little
convincing, visitors believed his dog could articulate "How are you
grandma?" More indicative of his playful nature, his experiments
convinced onlookers that they saw a "talking dog." Groundwater
2005, p. 30. However, these initial forays into experimentation
with sound led Bell to undertake his first serious work on the
transmission of sound
, using tuning forks
to explore resonance
. At the age of 19, he wrote a report on
his work and sent it to philologist
, a colleague of
his father (who would later be portrayed as Professor Henry Higgins
immediately wrote back indicating that the experiments were similar
to existing work in Germany.
Dismayed to find that groundbreaking work had already been
undertaken by Hermann von
who had conveyed vowel sounds by means of a similar
tuning fork "contraption
", he pored over the
German scientist's book, Sensations of Tone
. Working from
his own errant mistranslation of the original German edition, Aleck
fortuitously then made a deduction that would be the underpinning
of all his future work on transmitting sound, reporting:
"Without knowing much about the subject, it seemed to me that
if vowel sounds could be produced by electrical means so could consonants, so could articulate
, and also later remarking: "I thought that
Helmhotz had done it ... and that my failure was due only to my
ignorance of electricity. It was a valuable blunder
... If I had been able to read German in those days, I
might never have commenced my experiments!"
when the Bell family moved to London, Bell
returned to Weston House as an assistant master and, in his spare
hours, continued experiments on sound using a minimum of laboratory equipment.
concentrated on experimenting with electricity to convey sound and
later installed a telegraph
wire from his
room in Somerset College to that of a friend. Throughout the fall
and winter of 1867, his health faltered mainly through exhaustion.
His younger brother, Edward "Ted," was similarly bed-ridden,
suffering from tuberculosis
. While Bell
recovered (by then referring to himself in correspondence as "A.G.
served the next year as an instructor at Somerset College, Bath, Somerset, England, his
brother's condition deteriorated.
Edward would never
recover. Upon his brother's death, Bell returned home in 1867. His
older brother, "Melly" had married and moved out. With aspirations to
obtain a degree at the University College London, Bell considered his next years as preparation for
the degree examinations, devoting his spare time at his family's
residence to studying.
Helping his father in Visible Speech demonstrations and lectures
brought Bell to Susanna E. Hull's private
school for the deaf in South Kensington, London.
first two pupils were "deaf mute" girls who made remarkable
progress under his tutelage. While his older brother seemed to
achieve success on many fronts including opening his own elocution
school, applying for a patent on an invention, and starting a
family, Bell continued as a teacher. However, in May 1870, Melville
died from complications due to tuberculosis, causing a family
crisis. His father had also suffered a debilitating
illness earlier in life and had been restored to health by a
convalescence in Newfoundland.
Bell's parents embarked upon a long-planned
move when they realized that their remaining son was also sickly.
Acting decisively, Alexander Melville Bell asked Bell to arrange
for the sale of all the family property, conclude all of his
brother's affairs (Bell took over his last student, curing a
pronounced lisp), and join his father and mother in setting out for
the "New World
." Reluctantly, Bell also
had to conclude a relationship with Marie Eccleston, who, he had
surmised, was not prepared to leave England with him.
In 1870, at age 23, Bell, his brother's widow, Caroline (Margaret
Ottaway), and his parents travelled on the SS Nestorian
Canada. After landing at Quebec City, the Bells boarded a train to Montreal and later to Paris,
Ontario to stay with the Reverend Thomas Henderson, a family
friend. After a brief stay with the Hendersons, the
Bell family purchased a 10-and-a-half acre farm at Tutelo Heights
(now called Tutela Heights), near Brantford, Ontario. The property consisted of an orchard, large
farm house, stable, pigsty, hen-house and a carriage house, which
bordered the Grand River.
At the homestead, Bell set up his own workshop in the converted
near to what he called
his "dreaming place", a large hollow nestled in trees at the back
of the property above the river. Despite his frail condition upon
arriving in Canada, Bell found the climate and environs to his
liking, and rapidly improved. He continued his interest in the
study of the human voice and when he discovered the Six Nations Reserve
across the river
, he learned the Mohawk language
and translated its unwritten
vocabulary into Visible Speech symbols. For his work, Bell was
awarded the title of Honorary Chief and participated in a ceremony
where he donned a Mohawk
danced traditional dances.
After setting up his workshop, Bell continued experiments based on
Helmholtz's work with electricity and sound. He designed a piano
, which, by means of electricity, could transmit
its music at a distance. Once the family was settled in, both Bell
and his father made plans to establish a teaching practice and in
1871, he accompanied his father to Montreal, where Melville was
offered a position to teach his System of Visible Speech.
Work with the deaf
Subsequently, his father was invited by
Sarah Fuller, principal of the Boston School
for Deaf Mutes (which continues today as the public Horace Mann
School for the Deaf), in Boston, Massachusetts, United
States, to introduce the Visible Speech System by
providing training for Fuller's instructors, but he declined the
post, in favor of his son.
Traveling to Boston in April
1871, Bell provided successful in training the school's
instructors. He was subsequently asked to repeat the
program at the American Asylum for
Deaf-mutes in Hartford, Connecticut and the Clarke School for the Deaf in
Returning home to Brantford after six months abroad, Bell continued
his experiments with his "harmonic telegraph". The basic concept
behind his device was that messages could be sent through a single
wire if each message was transmitted at a different pitch, but work
on both the transmitter and receiver as needed. Unsure of his
future, he first contemplated returning to London to complete his
studies, but decided to return to Boston as a teacher. His father
helped him set up his private practice by contacting Gardiner Greene Hubbard
president of the Clarke School for the Deaf for a recommendation.
Teaching his father's system, in October 1872 Alexander Bell opened
his "School of Vocal Physiology and Mechanics of Speech" in Boston,
which attracted a large number of deaf pupils with his first class
numbering 30 students. Working as a private tutor, one of his most
famous pupils was Helen Keller
came to him as a young child unable to see, hear, or speak. She was
to later say that Bell dedicated his life to the penetration of
that "inhuman silence which separates and estranges."
Several influential people of the time, including Bell, viewed
deafness as something that ought to be eradicated, and also
believed that with resources and effort they could teach the deaf
to speak and avoid the use of sign
, thus enabling their integration within the wider
society many were often being excluded from. However in several
schools children were mistreated, for example by having their hands
tied behind their backs so they could not communicate by signing
â€”the only language they knewâ€” and were therefore forced to attempt
oral based communications.
following year, Bell became professor of Vocal Physiology and
Elocution at the Boston University School of Oratory.
During this period, he
alternated between Boston and Brantford, spending summers in his
Canadian home. At Boston University, Bell was "swept up" by the
excitement engendered by the many scientists and inventors residing
in the city. He continued his research in sound and endeavored to
find a way to transmit musical notes
articulate speech, but although absorbed by his experiments, he
found it difficult to devote enough time to experimentation. While
days and evenings were occupied by his teaching and private
classes, Bell began to stay awake late into the night, running
experiment after experiment in rented facilities at his boarding house
. Keeping up "night owl
" hours, he worried that his
work would be discovered and took great pains to lock up his
notebooks and laboratory equipment. Bell had a specially made table
where he could place his notes and equipment inside a locking
cover. Worse still, his health deteriorated as he suffered severe
headaches. Returning to Boston in fall 1873, Bell made a fateful
decision to concentrate on his experiments in sound.
Bell speaking into prototype model of
Deciding to give up his lucrative private Boston practice, Bell
only retained two students, six-year old "Georgie" Sanders, deaf
from birth and 15-year old Mabel Hubbard. Each pupil would serve to
play an important role in the next developments. George's father,
Thomas Sanders, a wealthy businessman, offered Bell a place to stay
at nearby Salem with Georgie's grandmother, complete with a room to
Although the offer was made by George's mother
and followed the year-long arrangement in 1872 where her son and
his nurse had moved to quarters next to Bell's boarding house, it
was clear that Mr. Sanders was backing the proposal. The
arrangement was for teacher and student to continue their work
together with free room and board thrown in. Mabel was a bright,
attractive girl who was ten years his junior but became the object
of Bell's affection. Losing her hearing after a bout of scarlet fever
at age five, she had learned to
read lips but her father, Gardiner Greene Hubbard, Bell's benefactor
and personal friend, wanted her to
work directly with her teacher.
By 1874, Bell's initial work on the harmonic telegraph had entered
a formative stage with progress it made both at his new Boston
"laboratory" (a rented facility) as well as at his family home in
Canada a big success.While working that summer in Brantford, Bell
experimented with a "phonautograph," a pen-like machine that could
draw shapes of sound waves on smoked
by tracing their vibrations. Bell thought it might be
possible to generate undulating electrical currents that
corresponded to sound waves. Bell also thought that multiple metal
reeds tuned to different frequencies like a harp would be able to
convert the undulatory currents back into sound. But he had no
working model to demonstrate the feasibility of these ideas.
In 1874, telegraph message traffic was rapidly expanding and in the
words of Western Union
William Orton, had become "the nervous system of commerce". Orton
had contracted with inventors Thomas
and Elisha Gray
to find a way
to send multiple telegraph
each telegraph line to avoid the great cost of constructing new
lines. When Bell mentioned to Gardiner Hubbard and Thomas Sanders
that he was working on a method of sending multiple tones on a
telegraph wire using a multi-reed device, the two wealthy patrons
began to financially support Bell's experiments. Patent matters
would be handled by Hubbard's patent
, Anthony Pollok
1875, Bell and Pollok visited the famous scientist Joseph Henry, who was then director of the
Institution, and asked Henry's advice on the electrical
multi-reed apparatus that Bell hoped would transmit the human voice
Henry replied that Bell had "the germ of a
great invention". When Bell said that he did not have the necessary
knowledge, Henry replied, "Get it!" That declaration greatly
encouraged Bell to keep trying, even though he did not have the
equipment needed to continue his experiments, nor the ability to
create a working model of his ideas. However, a chance meeting in
1874 between Bell and Thomas A.
, an experienced electrical
designer and mechanic at the electrical machine shop of Charles Williams
, changed all that.
With financial support from Sanders and Hubbard, Bell was able to
hire Thomas Watson as his assistant and the two of them
experimented with acoustic
. On 2 June 1875, Watson accidentally plucked one of
the reeds and Bell, at the receiving end of the wire, heard the
overtones of the reed; overtones that would be necessary for
transmitting speech. That demonstrated to Bell that only one reed
or armature was necessary, not multiple reeds. This led to the
" sound-powered telephone
, which was
able to transmit indistinct, voice-like sounds, but not clear
The race to the patent office
In 1875, Bell developed an acoustic
and drew up a patent
for it. Since he had agreed to share U.S. profits
with his investors Gardiner Hubbard and Thomas Sanders, Bell
requested that an associate attempt to patent it in Britain,
instructing his lawyers to apply for a patent in the U.S. only
after they received word from Britain. (Britain would only issue
patents for discoveries not previously patented elsewhere.)
Excerpts from Elisha Gray's patent
caveat of February 14 and Alexander Graham Bell's lab notebook
entry of March 8, demonstrating their surprising similarity
Meanwhile, Elisha Gray was also experimenting with acoustic
telegraphy and thought of a way to transmit speech using a water
transmitter. On February 14, 1876, Gray filed a caveat
with the U.S. Patent Office for a
telephone design that used a water transmitter. That same morning,
Bell's lawyer filed Bell's application with the patent office
. There is considerable debate
about who arrived first and Gray later challenged the primacy of
Bell's patent. Bell was in Boston on February 14, 1876.
Bell's patent 174,465, was issued to Bell on March 7, 1876, by the
. Bell's patent covered "the method of, and apparatus
for, transmitting vocal or other sounds telegraphically ... by
causing electrical undulations, similar in form to the vibrations
of the air accompanying the said vocal or other sound"
Bell returned to Boston the same day and the next day resumed work,
drawing in his notebook a diagram similar to that in Gray's patent
On March 10, 1876, three days after his patent was issued, Bell
succeeded in getting his telephone to work, using a liquid
transmitter similar to Gray's design. Vibration of the diaphragm
caused a needle to vibrate in the water which varied the electrical resistance
in the circuit.
When Bell spoke the famous sentence "Mr Watsonâ€”Come hereâ€”I want to
see you" into the liquid transmitter, Watson, listening at the
receiving end in an adjoining room, heard the words clearly.
Although Bell was accused, and is still accused, of stealing the
telephone from Gray, Bell used Gray's water transmitter design only
after Bell's patent was granted and only as a proof of concept
scientific experiment to
prove to his own satisfaction that intelligible "articulate speech"
(Bell's words) could be electrically transmitted. After March 1876,
Bell focused on improving the electromagnetic telephone and never
used Gray's liquid transmitter in public demonstrations or
The patent examiner
, Zenas Fisk Wilber,
later stated in a sworn affidavit that he was an alcoholic who was
much in debt to Bell's lawyer, Marcellus Bailey
, with whom he had served
in the Civil War. He claimed he showed Gray's patent caveat to
Bailey. Wilber also claimed (after Bell arrived in Washington D.C.
from Boston) that he showed Gray's caveat to Bell and that Bell
paid him $100. Bell claimed they only discussed the patent in
general terms, although in a letter to Gray, Bell admitted that he
learned some of the technical details. Bell denied in a sworn
affidavit that he ever gave Wilber any money.
Continuing his experiments in Brantford, Bell brought home a
working model of his telephone. On August 3, 1876, from the
telegraph office in Mount Pleasant
(8 km) away from Brantford, Bell sent a tentative telegram
indicating that he was ready. With curious onlookers packed into
the office as witnesses, faint voices were heard replying. The
following night, he amazed guests as well as his family when a
message was received at the Bell home from Brantford, four miles
(six km) distant along an improvised wire strung up along telegraph
lines, fences, and laid through a tunnel. This time, guests at the
household distinctly heard people in Brantford reading and singing.
These experiments clearly proved that the telephone could work over
Bell and his partners, Hubbard and Sanders, offered to sell the
patent outright to Western Union for $100,000. The president of
Western Union balked, countering that the telephone was nothing but
a toy. Two years later, he told colleagues that if he could get the
patent for $25 million he would consider it a bargain. By then, the
Bell company no longer wanted to sell the patent. Bell's investors
would become millionaires while he fared well from residuals and
he, at one point, had assets nearly reaching one million
Bell began a series of public demonstrations and lectures in order
to introduce the new invention to the scientific community
as well as the
general public. Only one day after his demonstration of an
early telephone prototype at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia made the telephone the featured headline
worldwide. Influential visitors to the exhibition
included Emperor Pedro II of
Brazil, and later Bell had the opportunity to personally
demonstrate the invention to William Thomson, a
renowned Scottish scientist and even Queen Victoria who had requested a private
audience at Osborne House, her
Wight home; she called the demonstration "most
The enthusiasm surrounding Bell's public
displays laid the groundwork for universal acceptance of the
The Bell Telephone Company
was created in 1877, and by 1886, over 150,000 people in the U.S.
owned telephones. Bell company engineers made numerous other
improvements to the telephone, which emerged as one of the most
successful products ever. In 1879, the Bell company acquired
Edison's patents for the carbon
from Western Union. This made the telephone
practical for long distances and it was no longer necessary to
shout to be heard at the receiving telephone.
On January 25, 1915, Bell made the first transcontinental telephone call
. Calling from 15 Day
Street in New York
City, Bell was heard by Thomas
Watson at 333 Grant Avenue in San Francisco.
The New York
As is sometimes common in scientific discoveries, simultaneous
developments can occur, as evidenced by a number of inventors who
were at work on the telephone. Over a period of 18 years, the Bell
Telephone Company faced over 600 lawsuits posing legal challenges
concerning the rights to the telephone, but none was successful in
establishing priority over the original Bell patent and the Bell
Telephone Company never lost a case that had proceeded to a final
trial stage. Bell's laboratory notes and family letters were the
key to establishing a long lineage to his experiments. The Bell
company lawyers successfully fought off myriad lawsuits generated
initially around the challenges by Elisha Gray and Amos Dolbear
. In personal correspondence to
Bell, both Gray and Dolbear had acknowledged his prior work, which
considerably weakened their later claims.
On 13 January 1887, the United States Government moved to annul the
patent issued to Bell on the grounds of fraud and
misrepresentation. After a series of decisions and reversals, the
Bell company won a decision in the Supreme
, though a couple of the original claims from the lower
court cases were left undecided. By the time that the trial wound
its way through nine years of legal battles, the U.S. prosecuting
attorney had died and the two Bell patents (No. 174,465 and dated 7
March 1876 and No. 186,787 dated January 30, 1877) were no longer
in effect, although the presiding judges agreed to continue the
proceedings due to the case's importance as a "precedent."
With a change in administration
and charges of conflict of
(on both sides) arising from the original trial, the
U.S. Attorney General
law suit on 30 November 1897 leaving several issues undecided
on the merits
deposition filed for the 1887 trial, Italian inventor Antonio Meucci also claimed to have created
the first working model of a telephone in Italy in
In 1886, in the first of three cases in which he was
involved, Meucci took the stand as a witness in the hopes of
establishing his invention's priority. Meucci's evidence in this
case was disputed due to a lack of material evidence for his
inventions as his working models were purportedly lost at the
laboratory of American District
(ADT) of New York, which later, in 1901, was
incorporated as a subsidiary of Western Union. Meucci's work, like
many other inventors of the period, was based on earlier acoustic
principles and despite evidence of earlier experiments, the final
case involving Meucci was eventually dropped upon Meucci's death.
However, due to the efforts of Congressman Vito Fossella
, the U.S. House of Representatives
June 2002 stated that Meucci's "work in the invention of the
telephone should be acknowledged", even though this did not put an
end to a still contentious issue. Some modern scholars do not agree
with the claims that Bell's work on the telephone was influenced by
The value of the Bell patent was acknowledged throughout the world,
and patent applications were made in most major countries, but when
Bell had delayed the German patent application, the electrical firm
of Siemens & Halske
managed to set up
a rival manufacturer of Bell telephones under their own patent. The
Siemens company produced near-identical copies of the Bell
telephone without having to pay royalties. A series of agreements
in other countries eventually consolidated a global telephone
operation. The strain put on Bell by his constant appearances in
court, necessitated by the legal battles, eventually resulted in
his resignation from the company.
[[Image:Alexander Graham Bell and family.jpg|right|thumb|Alexander
Graham Bell, his wife Mabel
, and their daughters Elsie (left) and Marian
11, 1877, a few days after the Bell Telephone Company was
established, Bell married Mabel
Hubbard (1857â€“1923) at the Hubbard estate in Cambridge.
His wedding present to his bride was to
turn over 4,990 of his 5,000 shares in the newly created Bell
Telephone Company. Shortly thereafter, the newlyweds embarked on a
year-long honeymoon in Europe. During that excursion, Alec took a
handmade model of his telephone with him, making it a "working
holiday". The courtship had begun years earlier, however Alexander
waited until he was more financially secure before marrying.
Although the telephone appeared to be an "instant" success, it was
not initially a profitable venture and Bell's main sources of
income were from lectures until after 1897. One unusual request
exacted by his fiancÃ©e was that he use "Alec" rather than the
family's earlier familiar name of "Aleck." From 1876, he would sign
his name "Alec Bell." They had four children: Elsie May Bell
(1878â€“1964) who married Gilbert
Grosvenor of National Geographic fame, Marian Hubbard Bell (1880â€“1962) who was
referred to as "Daisy", and two sons who died in infancy.
family home was located in Cambridge, Massachusetts until 1880 when Bell's father-in-law bought a
house, and then later in 1882 the Brohead Mansion, in Washington, D.C. for the Bell family, so that Alec's family could be
with him while he attended to the numerous court cases involving
Bell was a British subject
throughout his early life in Scotland and later in Canada until
1882, when he became a naturalized
of the United States. In 1915, he characterized his
status as: "I am not one of those hyphenated Americans who
claim allegiance to two countries." Despite this
declaration, Bell has been claimed as a "native son" by Canada, Scotland
and the United
By 1885, a new summer retreat was
contemplated. That summer, the Bells had a vacation on
Island in Nova
Scotia, spending time at the small village of Baddeck. Returning in 1886, Bell started building an
estate on a point across from Baddeck, overlooking Bras d'Or
Lake. By 1889, a large house, christened The
Lodge was completed and two years later, a larger complex of
buildings were begun that the Bells would name Beinn Bhreagh (Gaelic: beautiful mountain) after Alec's
highlands. Bell would spend his final, and some of his
most productive, years in residence in both Washington, D.C., where
he and his family initially resided for most of the year, and
Until the end of his life, Bell and his family would alternate
between the two homes, but Beinn Bhreagh
would, over the
next 30 years, become more than a summer home as Bell became so
absorbed in his experiments that annual stays lengthened. Both
Mabel and Alec became immersed in the Baddeck community and were
accepted by the villagers as "their own". The Bells were still
in residence at Beinn Bhreagh when the Halifax
Explosion occurred on 6 December 1917.
Mabel and Alec
mobilized the community to help victims in Halifax.
Although Alexander Graham Bell is most often associated with the
invention of the telephone, his interests were extremely varied.
According to one of his biographers, Charlotte Gray
, Bell's work ranged
"unfettered across the scientific landscape"
and he often
went to bed voraciously reading the Encyclopaedia
, scouring it for new areas of interest. The range
of Bell's inventive genius is represented only in part by the 18
patents granted in his name alone and the 12 he shared with his
collaborators. These included 14 for the telephone and telegraph,
four for the photophone
, one for the
, five for aerial vehicles,
four for "hydroairplanes" and two for selenium
cells. Bell's inventions spanned a wide
range of interests and included a metal jacket to assist in
breathing, the audiometer
to detect minor
hearing problems, a device to locate icebergs, investigations on
how to separate salt from seawater, and work on finding alternative fuels
Bell worked extensively in medical
and invented techniques for teaching speech to the
deaf. During his Volta Laboratory period, Bell and his associates
considered impressing a magnetic
on a record as a means of reproducing sound. Although the
trio briefly experimented with the concept, they were unable to
develop a workable prototype. They abandoned the idea, never
realizing they had glimpsed a basic principle which would one day
find its application in the tape
, the hard disc
and floppy disc
drive and other magnetic media
Bell's own home used a primitive form of air conditioning
, in which fans blew
currents of air across great blocks of ice. He also anticipated
modern concerns with fuel shortages and industrial pollution.
gas, he reasoned, could be produced
from the waste of farms and factories. At his Canadian estate in
Nova Scotia, he experimented with composting toilets
and devices to capture
water from the atmosphere. In a magazine interview published
shortly before his death, he reflected on the possibility of using
Bell is also credited with the invention of the metal detector
in 1881. The device was
quickly put together in an attempt to find the bullet in the body
of U.S. President James Garfield
. The metal detector worked
flawlessly in tests but did not find the assassin's bullet partly
because the metal bed frame the President was lying on disturbed
the instrument, resulting in static. The president's surgeons, who
were sceptical of the device, ignored Bell's requests to move the
president to a bed not fitted with metal springs. Alternately,
although Bell had detected a slight sound on his first test, the
bullet may have lodged too deeply to be detected by the crude
apparatus. Bell gave a full account of his experiments in a paper
read before the American
Association for the Advancement of Science
(AAAS) in August
Bell HD-4 on a test run c.
The March 1906 Scientific
article by American hydrofoil
pioneer William E. Meacham explained the
basic principle of hydrofoils
. Bell considered the invention of the
hydroplane as a very significant achievement. Based on information
gained from that article he began to sketch concepts of what is now
called a hydrofoil boat. Bell and assistant Frederick W. "Casey" Baldwin
experimentation in the summer of 1908 as a possible aid to airplane
takeoff from water. Baldwin studied the work of the Italian
inventor Enrico Forlanini
testing models. This led him and Bell to the development of
practical hydrofoil watercraft.
During his world tour of 1910â€“1911, Bell and Baldwin met with
Forlanini in France. They had rides in the Forlanini hydrofoil
boat over Lake
Baldwin described it as being as smooth as flying. On returning to
Baddeck, a number of initial concepts were built as experimental
models, including the Dhonnas Beag
, the first
self-propelled Bell-Baldwin hydrofoil. The experimental boats were
essentially proof-of-concept prototypes that culminated in the more
substantial HD-4, powered by Renault
engines. A top speed of 54 miles per
(87 km/h) was achieved, with the hydrofoil exhibiting
rapid acceleration, good stability and steering along with the
ability to take waves without difficulty. In 1913, Dr. Bell
hired Walter Pinaud, a Sydney yacht designer and builder as well as
the proprietor of Pinaud's Yacht Yard in Westmount,
Nova Scotia to work on the pontoons of the HD-4.
soon took over the boatyard at Bell Laboratories on Beinn Bhreagh,
Bell's estate near Baddeck, Nova Scotia.
Pinaud's experience in boat-building
enabled him to make useful design changes to the HD-4. After the
First World War
, work began again on the
HD-4. Bell's report to the U.S.
permitted him to obtain two
) engines in July 1919. On 9 September 1919, the HD-4
set a world marine speed record of 70.86 miles per hour
(114.04 km/h), a record which stood for ten years.
AEA Silver Dart c. 1909
In 1891, Bell had begun experiments to develop motor-powered
.The AEA was first
formed as Bell shared the vision to fly with his wife, who advised
him to seek "young" help as Alexander was at the graceful age of
In 1898, Bell experimented with tetrahedral box kites
and wings constructed of multiple compound tetrahedral kites
covered in silk. The
tetrahedral wings were named Cygnet
I, II and III, and
were flown both unmanned and manned (Cygnet I
during a flight carrying Selfridge) in the period from 1907â€“1912.
Some of Bell's kites are on display at the
Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site
Bell was a supporter of aerospace
research through the Aerial Experiment Association
(AEA), officially formed at Baddeck, Nova Scotia, in October 1907
at the suggestion of Mrs. Mabel Bell and with her financial
support. The AEA was headed by Bell and the founding members were
four young men: American Glenn H.
Curtiss, a motorcycle manufacturer at the
time termed the "world's fastest man" having had ridden his
self-constructed motor bicycle around in the shortest time, later
was awarded the Scientific American Trophy for the first official
one-kilometre flight in the Western hemisphere and became a world-renowned airplane manufacturer;
Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge, an
official observer from the U.S. government and
the only person in the army who believed aviation was the future,
Baldwin, the first Canadian and first
British subject to pilot a public flight in Hammondsport, New York; and J.A.D.
; both engineering students at
University of Toronto.
The AEA's work progressed to heavier-than-air machines, applying
their knowledge of kites to gliders. Moving to Hammondsport, the
group then designed and built the Red
, framed in bamboo and covered in red silk and powered
by a small air-cooled
12, 1908, over Keuka
Lake, the biplane lifted off on the first public flight
in North America.
The innovations that were incorporated
into this design included a cockpit enclosure and tail rudder
(later variations on the original design
would add ailerons as a means of control). One of the AEA project's
inventions, the aileron
, is a standard
component of aircraft today. (The aileron was also invented
independently by Robert
.) The White Wing
were to follow and by the end of 1908, over 150 flights
without mishap had been accomplished. However, the AEA had depleted
its initial reserves and only a $10,000 grant from Mrs. Bell
allowed it to continue with experiments.
Their final aircraft design, the Silver Dart
embodied all of the
advancements found in the earlier machines. On February 23, 1909,
Bell was present as the Silver Dart
flown by J.A.D.
McCurdy from the frozen ice of Bras d'Or, made the first aircraft
flight in Canada. Bell had worried that the flight was too
dangerous and had arranged for a doctor to be on hand. With the
successful flight, the AEA disbanded and the Silver Dart
would revert to Baldwin and McCurdy who began the Canadian
Aerodrome Company and would later demonstrate the aircraft to the
Along with many very prominent thinkers and scientists of the time,
Bell was connected with the eugenics
movement in the United States. In his lecture Memoir upon the formation
of a deaf variety of the human race presented to the National Academy of Sciences on 13 November 1883 he noted that congenitally deaf
parents were more likely to produce deaf children and tentatively
suggested that couples where both parties were deaf should not
However, it was his hobby of livestock breeding which
led to his appointment to biologist David Starr Jordan
's Committee on
Eugenics, under the auspices of the American Breeders Association
The committee unequivocally extended the principle to man.
until 1918 he was the chairman of the board of scientific advisers
to the Eugenics Record Office
associated with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New
York, and regularly attended meetings.
he was the honorary president of the Second International
Congress of Eugenics held under the auspices of the American
Museum of Natural History in New York.
Organisations such as these
advocated passing laws (with success in some states) that
established the compulsory
of people deemed to be, as Bell called them, a
"defective variety of the human race". By the late 1930s,
about half the states in the U.S. had eugenics laws, and the
California laws were used as a model for eugenics laws in
Legacy and honors
Honors and tributes flowed to Bell in increasing numbers as his
most famous invention became ubiquitous and his personal fame grew.
Bell received numerous honorary degrees from colleges and
universities, to the point that the requests almost became
burdensome. During his life he also received dozens of major
awards, medals and other tributes. These included statuary monuments to both
him and the new form of communication his telephone created,
notably the Bell Telephone Memorial erected in his honor in
Ontario's Alexander Graham Bell Gardens in
number of Bell's writings, personal correspondence, notebooks, papers and
other documents reside at both the United States Library of
Congress Manuscript Division (as the Alexander Graham Bell Family
Papers), and at the Alexander Graham Bell Institute, Cape Breton
Scotia; major portions of which are available for online
A number of historic sites and other marks commemorate Bell in
North America and Europe, including the first telephone companies
of the United States
and Canada. Among the major sites are:
Bell received the Volta Prize of 50,000
francs (approximately US$10,000) for the invention of the telephone
franÃ§aise, representing the French government, in Paris.
- Park's Canada's
Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site,
which incorporates the Alexander Graham Bell Museum, in Baddeck,
Nova Scotia, close to the Bell estate Beinn Bhreagh;
- The Bell Homestead, also known as Melville
House, overlooking Brantford, Ontario and the Grand River, which was the Bell family's first home in North
- Canada's first telephone company building, the Henderson Home, of the nascent 1877
Bell Telephone Company
of Canada, which was carefully relocated in 1969 to the
historic Bell Homestead. The Bell Homestead and the
Bell Telephone Company Building are both maintained by the
Bell Homestead Society in Brantford,
- The Alexander Graham Bell Memorial Park, which
features a broad neoclassical monument built in 1917 by public
subscription. The monument graphically depicts mankind's ability to
span the globe through telecommunications;
Alexander Graham Bell Museum (opened in 1956),
which is part of the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic
Site, which was completed in 1978 in Baddeck,
Nova Scotia. Many of the museum's artifacts were
contributed by Bell's daughters;
Among the luminaries who judged were Victor
and pÃ¨re Alexandre
. The Volta Prize was established by Napoleon Bonaparte
in 1803 to honor
, and Bell received
only the third such prize in its history. Since Bell was
becoming increasingly affluent, he used his prize money to create endowment funds (the
'Volta Fund') and institutions in and around the United States
capital of Washington,
D.C.. They included the prestigious 'Volta
Laboratory Association' (1880), also known as the 'Volta
Laboratories' and as the 'Alexander Graham Bell
Laboratory', as well as creating the Volta Bureau (1887) as a center for studies on deafness.
The Volta Laboratory became a permanently funded experimental
facility devoted to scientific discovery, and the very next year
invented a wax phonograph
was later used by Thomas Edison; The laboratory was also the site
where he and his assistant invented his 'proudest
which presaged fibre optical
In partnership with Gardiner Hubbard, Bell helped established the
early 1880s. In 1888, Bell was one of the founding
members of the National Geographic Society and became its second president (1897â€“1904), and
also became a Regent of the Smithsonian Institution (1898â€“1922). The French government
conferred on him the decoration of the LÃ©gion d'honneur (Legion of Honour);
Society of Arts in London awarded him the Albert Medal in 1902; and the University
of WÃ¼rzburg, Bavaria, granted him a Ph.D.
He was awarded the
in 1914 "For meritorious
achievement in the invention of the telephone."
bel (B) and the smaller decibel (dB) are units of measurement of sound intensity invented by Bell Labs and named after him.
Since 1976 the IEEE
's Alexander Graham Bell Medal
has been awarded to honor outstanding contributions in the field of
The 150th anniversary of Bell's birth in 1997 was marked by a
special issue of commemorative Â£1 banknotes
from the Royal Bank of
. The illustrations on the reverse of the note include
Bell's face in profile, his signature, and objects from Bell's life
and career: users of the telephone over the ages; an audio wave signal
; a diagram of a telephone receiver;
geometric shapes from engineering structures; representations of
and the phonetic alphabet
; the geese
which helped him to understand flight
; and the sheep
studied to understand genetics
Additionally, the Government of Canada honoured Bell in 1997 with a
, in tribute also to the 150th anniversary of his birth,
and with a silver dollar
coin in 2009
to honour of the 100th
anniversary of flight in Canada.
That first flight was made by an airplane designed under Dr. Bell's
tutelage, named the Silver Dart
Bell's image, and also those of his many inventions have graced
paper money, coinage and postal stamps in numerous countries
worldwide for many dozens of years.
Bell's name is widely known and still used as part of the names of
dozens of educational institutes, corporate namesakes, street and
place names around the world. Alexander Graham Bell was also ranked
57th among the 100 Greatest
(2002) in an official BBC
poll, and among the Top Ten
(2004), and the 100 Greatest Americans
Alexander Graham Bell
, who was unable to complete
the university program of his youth, received numerous Honorary Degrees
from academic institutions,
Bell died of diabetes
on August 2, 1922, at
his private estate, Beinn Bhreagh, Nova Scotia, at age 75. Bell had
also been afflicted with pernicious
. While tending to her husband after a long illness,
Mabel whispered, "Don't leave me." By way of reply, Bell traced the
sign for no
â€”and then he expired.
Upon Bell's death, during his funeral, "every phone on the
continent of North America was silenced in honor of the man who had
given to mankind the means for direct communication at a
On learning of Bell's death, Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King
cabled Mrs. Bell,
[The Government expresses] to you our sense of
the world's loss in the death of your distinguished
It will ever be a source of pride to our
country that the great invention, with which his name is immortally
associated, is a part of its history.
On the behalf of the citizens of Canada, may I
extend to you an expression of our combined gratitude and
Dr. Alexander Graham Bell was buried atop Beinn Bhreagh mountain,
on his estate where he had resided increasingly for the last 35
years of his life, overlooking Bras d'Or Lake. He was survived by
his wife and his two daughters, Elisa May and Marion.
- Bruce 1990, p. 419.
- Black 1997, p. 18. Quote: "He thought he could harness the new
technology by creating a machine with a transmitter and
receiver that would send sounds telegraphically to help people
- MacLeod 1999, p. 19.
- National Geographic Website
- Petrie 1975, p. 4.
- Time Line of Alexander Graham Bell
- "Alexander M. Bell Dead. Father of Prof. A.G. Bell Developed
Language for Mutes." New York Times Tuesday, August 8,
- Call me Alexander Graham Bell Note: Bell typically
signed his name in full on his correspondence.
- Groundwater 2005, p. 23.
- Bruce 1990, pp. 17â€“19.
- Bruce 1990, p. 16.
- Gray 2006, p. 8.
- Gray 2006, p. 9.
- Mackay 1997, p.25.
- Petrie 1975, p. 7.
- Mackay 1997, p. 31.
- Gray 2006, p. 11.
- Town 1988, p. 7.
- Bruce 1990, p. 37.
- Groundwater 2005, p. 25.
- Petrie 1975, pp. 7â€“9.
- Petrie 1975, p. 9.
- Groundwater 2005, p. 30.
- MacKenzie 2003, p. 41.
- Groundwater 2005, p. 31.
- Micklos 2006, p. 8.
- Bruce 1990, p. 45.
- Bruce 1990, pp. 67â€“68. Note: The family pet was given to his
- Bruce 1990, p. 68.
- Groundwater 2005, p. 33.
- Mackay 1997, p. 50.
- Petrie 1975, p. 10.
- Mackay 1997, p. 61. Note: The estate is today known as the
- Groundwater 2005, p. 34.
- Mackay 1997, p. 62. Note: Bell would later write that he had
come to Canada a "dying man".
- Groundwater 2005, p. 35. Note: Bell was thrilled at his
recognition by the Six Nations Reserve and throughout his life
would launch into a Mohawk war dance when he was excited.
- Wing 1980, p. 10.
- Bruce 1990, p. 74.
- Town 1988, p. 12.
- Alexander Graham Bell 1979, p. 8. Note: In later
years, Bell described the invention of the telephone and linked it
to his "dreaming place".
- Petrina 1975, p. 14.
- Petrel 1975, p. 15.
- Town 1988, pp. 12â€“13.
- Petrie 1975, p. 17.
- Miller and Branson 2002, pp. 30â€“31, 152â€“153.
- Town 1988, p. 15.
- Groundwater 2005, p. 39.
- Town 1988, p. 16.
- Dunn 1990, p. 20.
- Alexander Graham Bell 1979, p. 8. Quote: "Brantford is
justified in calling herself 'The Telephone City' because the
telephone originated there. It was invented in Brantford at Tutela
Heights in the summer of 1874."
- Matthews 1999, pp. 19â€“21.
- Matthews 1999, p. 21.
- A History of Electrical Engineering
- Town 1988, p. 17.
- Evenson 2000, pp. 18â€“25.
- MacLeod 1999, pp. 12â€“13. Note: A copy of a draft of the patent
application is shown, described as "probably the most valuable
- Bell's Lab notebook I, pp. 40â€“41 (image
- MacLeod 1999, p. 12.
- Shulman 2008, p. 211.
- Evenson 2000, p. 99.
- Evenson 2000, p. 98.
- Evenson 2000, p. 100.
- MacLeod 1999, p. 14.
- Fenster, Julie M. "Inventing the Telephoneâ€”And Triggering All-Out
Patent War." AmericanHeritage.com, American Heritage,
- Winfield 1987, p. 21.
- Webb 1991, p. 15.
- Ross 1995, pp. 21â€“22.
- Black 1997, p. 19.
- Groundwater 2005, p. 95.
- Mackay 1997, p. 179.
- "U.S. Supreme Court: U S v. AMERICAN BELL TEL CO,
167 U.S. 224 (1897)
- United states V. American Bell Telephone Co., 128
U. S. 315 (1888)
- Basilio Catania 2002 "The United States Government
vs. Alexander Graham Bell. An important acknowledgment for Antonio
Meucci" Bulletin of Science Technology Society. 2002; 22: pp.
- Catania, Basilio "Antonio Meucci â€“ Questions and Answers: What did Meucci
to bring his invention to the public?" Chezbasilio.it
website. Retrieved July 8, 2009.
- "History of ADT Security." ADT.com
website. Retrieved July 8, 2009.
- Bruce 1990, pp. 271â€“272.
- Resolution 269
- Congressional Record on Meucci Note: Meucci was
not involved in the final trial.
- Italian Historical Society
- Antonio Meucci Note: Tomas Farley also writes
that, "Nearly every scholar agrees that Bell and Watson were the
first to transmit intelligible speech by electrical means. Others
transmitted a sound or a click or a buzz but our boys [Bell and
Watson] were the first to transmit speech one could
- Mackay 1997, p. 178.
- Parker 1995, p. 23. Note: Many of the lawsuits became rancorous
with Elisha Gray becoming particularly bitter over Bell's
ascendancy in the telephone debate but Alec refused to launch
counter actions for libel.
- Eber 1982, p. 44.
- Dunn 1990, p. 28.
- Mackay 1997, p. 120.
- "Mrs. A.G. Bell Dies. Inspired Telephone. Deaf Girl's Romance
With Distinguished Inventor Was Due to Her Affliction."
Times, January 4, 1923.
- "Dr. Gilbert H. Grosvenor Dies; Head of National Geographic,
90; Editor of Magazine 55 Years Introduced Photos, Increased
Circulation to 4.5 Million." New York Times, February 5, 1966.
February 4, 1964 (Canadian Press): Dr. Gilbert H.
Grosvenor, chairman of the board and former
president of the National Geographic Society and
editor of the National Geographic magazine
from 1899 to 1954, died on the Cape Breton Island estate once owned
by his father-in-law, the inventor Alexander Graham Bell. He was 90
- "Mrs. Gilbert Grosvenor Dead; Joined in Geographic's Treks;
Married Professor's Son." New York Times, December 27, 1964.
Quote: Washington, DC, 26 December 1964. Mrs. Elsie
May Bell Grosvenor, wife of Dr. Gilbert Grosvenor, chairman of the
board of the National Geographic Society,
died this evening at her home in Bethesda, Maryland. She was 86 years
old. Death was attributed to heart disease and old age.
- "Mrs. David Fairchild, 82, Dead; Daughter of Bell,
Phone Inventor." New York Times, September 25, 1962. Quote:
Baddeck, Nova Scotia, September 24,
1962 (The Canadian Press) Mrs. Marian Bell
Fairchild of Miami, widow of David Fairchild, noted plant explorer,
and daughter of the telephone pioneer Alexander Graham Bell, died
tonight at her summer home. She was 82 years old."
- Gray 2006, pp. 202â€“205.
- Bruce 1990, pp. 90.
- Bruce 1990, 471â€“472.
- Tulloch 2006, pp. 25â€“27. Note: Under the direction of the
Boston architects, Cabot, Everett and Mead, a Nova Scotia company,
Rhodes, Curry and Company, carried out the actual
- MacLeod 1999, p. 22.
- Tulloch 2006, p. 42.
- Gray 2006, p. 219.
- Grosvenor and Wesson 1997, p. 107.
- Boileau 2004, p. 18.
- Boileau 2004, pp. 28â€“30.
- Boileau 2004, p. 30.
- Nova Scotia's Electric Scrapbook
- Phillips 1977, p. 95.
- "Selfridge Aerodrome Sails Steadily for ." Washington Post
May 13, 1908. Quote: At 25 to 30 Miles an Hour. First Public Trip
of Heavier-than-air Car in America. Professor Alexander Graham
Bell's New Machine, Built After Plans by Lieutenant Selfridge,
Shown to Be Practicable by Flight Over Keuka Lake. Portion of Tail Gives Way,
Bringing the Test to an End. Views of an Expert. Hammondsport, New York, March 12,
- Phillips 1977, p. 96.
- Phillips 1977, pp. 96â€“97.
- Bell, Alexander Graham. "Memoir upon the formation of a deaf variety of the
human race." Alexander Graham Bell Association for the
- Bruce 1990, pp. 410â€“417.
- Library of Congress â€“ Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers
- Osborne, Harold S. (1943) "Biographical Memoir of Alexander Gramam Bell."
National Academy of Sciences: Biographical Memoirs, Vol.
XXIII, 1847â€“1922, presented to the Academy at its 1943 annual
- "Honors to Professor Bell.", Boston Daily
Evening Traveller, September 1, 1880, Library of Congress,
Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers. Retrieved: April 5 2009.
- "Volta Prize of the French Academy Awarded to Prof.
Alexander Graham Bell, September 1, 1880." Library of
Congress, Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers. Retrieved:
April 5 2009.
- "Telegram from Grossman to Alexander Graham Bell,
August 2, 1880." Library of Congress, Alexander Graham
Bell Family Papers. Retrieved: April 5 2009.
- "Telegram from Alexander Graham Bell to Count du
Moncel, 1880." Library of Congress, Alexander Graham
Bell Family Papers. Retrieved: April 5 2009.
- "Letter from Frederick T. Frelinghuysen to Alexander
Graham Bell, January 7, 1882." Library of Congress,
Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers. Retrieved: April 5 2009.
- "Letter from Mabel Hubbard Bell, February 27,
1880." Library of Congress, Alexander Graham Bell
Family Papers. Retrieved: April 5 2009. N.B.: last line of the
typed note refers to the future disposition of award funds:
"... and thus the matter lay till the paper turned up. He
intends putting the full amount into his Laboratory and
- Decibel Note: The decibel is defined as one
tenth of a bel.
- "Definition: 'bel'." freedictionary.com,
Heritage Dictionary of the English Language by Houghton Mifflin
Company, Fourth Edition, 2000. Retrieved: September 2, 2009.
- "Royal Bank Commemorative Notes." Rampant
Scotland. Retrieved: October 14, 2008.
Royal Canadian Mint Numismatic Coins
- Royal Canadian Mint website
- http://BBC News World Edition
- Beatlelinks: The Greatest Britons of All Times
- "Dartmouth graduates." New York Times.
Retrieved: July 30, 2009.
- Gray 2006, p. 419.
- Gray 2006, p. 418.
- "Obituary: Dr. Bell, Inventor of Telephone, Dies:
Sudden End, Due to Anemia, Comes in Seventy-Sixth Year at His Nova
Scotia Home: Notables Pay Him Tribute." The New York
Times, August 3, 1922. Retrieved: March 3, 2009.
- Bruce 1990, p. 491.
- Osborne, Harold S. "Biographical Memoir of Alexander Graham Bell,
1847â€“1922." National Academy of Sciences of the United
States of America, Bibliographical Memoirs, Volume XXIII, First
Memoir. Annual Meeting presentation, 1943, pp. 18â€“19.
- "Dr. Bell, Inventor of Telephone, Dies."
Times, August 3, 1922. Retrieved: July 21, 2007. Quote:
Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, died at 2
o'clock this morning at Beinn Breagh, his estate near Baddeck.
- Alexander Graham Bell (booklet). Halifax, Nova Scotia:
Maritime Telegraph & Telephone Limited, 1979.
- Bruce, Robert V. Bell: Alexander Bell and the Conquest of
Solitude. Ithaca, New York: Cornell
University Press, 1990. ISBN 0-80149691-8.
- Black, Harry. Canadian Scientists and Inventors:
Biographies of People who made a Difference. Markham, Ontario:
Pembroke Publishers Limited, 1997. ISBN 1-55138-081-1.
- Boileau, John. Fastest in the World: The Saga of Canada's
Revolutionary Hydrofoils. Halifax, Nova Scotia: Formac
Publishing Company Limited, 2004. ISBN 0-88780-621-X.
- Dunn, Andrew. Alexander Graham Bell (Pioneers of
Science series). East Sussex, UK: Wayland (Publishers) Limited, 1990.
- Eber, Dorothy Harley. Genius at Work: Images of Alexander
Graham Bell. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1982. ISBN
- Evenson, A. Edward. The Telephone Patent Conspiracy of
1876: The Elisha Gray â€” Alexander Bell Controversy.
Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland Publishing, 2000. ISBN
- Gray, Charlotte. Reluctant Genius: Alexander Graham Bell
and the Passion for Invention. New York: Arcade Publishing, 2006. ISBN
- Grosvenor, Edwin S. and Morgan Wesson. Alexander Graham
Bell: The Life and Times of the Man Who Invented the
Telephone. New York: Harry N. Abrahms, Inc., 1997. ISBN
- Groundwater, Jennifer. Alexander Graham Bell: The Spirit of
Invention. Calgary: Altitude Publishing, 2005. ISBN
- Mackay, James. Sounds Out of Silence: A life of Alexander
Graham Bell. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing Company, 1997.
- MacKenzie, Catherine. Alexander Graham Bell. Whitefish, Montana:
Kessinger Publishing, 2003. ISBN 978-0766143852. Retrieved: July
- MacLeod, Elizabeth. Alexander Graham Bell: An Inventive
Life. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 1999. ISBN 1-55074-456-9.
- Matthews, Tom L. Always Inventing: A Photobiography of
Alexander Graham Bell. Washington, DC: National Geographic
Society, 1999. ISBN 0-7922-7391-5.
- Micklos, John Jr. Alexander Graham Bell: Inventor of the
Telephone. New York: Harper
Collins Publishers Ltd., 2006. ISBN 978-0060576189.
- Miller, Don and Jan Branson. Damned For Their Difference: The Cultural Construction
Of Deaf People as Disabled: A Sociological History.
Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press, 2002. ISBN
- Parker, Steve. Alexander Graham Bell and the
Telephone(Science Discoveries series). New York: Chelsea House
Publishers, 1995. ISBN 0-7910-3004-0.
- Petrie, A. Roy. Alexander Graham Bell. Don Mills,
Ontario: Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited, 1975. ISBN
- Phillips, Allan. Into the 20th Century: 1900/1910
(Canada's Illustrated Heritage). Toronto: Natural Science of Canada
Limited, 1977. ISBN 0-9196-4422-8.
- Ross, Stewart. Alexander Graham Bell (Scientists who
Made History series). New York: Raintree Steck-Vaughn Publishers,
2001. ISBN 0-73984-415-6.
- Shulman, Seth. The
Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Bell's Secret. New
York: Norton & Company, 2008. ISBN 978-0393062069.
- Town, Florida. Alexander Graham Bell. Toronto: Grolier
Limited, 1988. ISBN 0-7172-1950-X.
- Tulloch, Judith. The Bell Family in Baddeck: Alexander
Graham Bell and Mabel Bell in Cape Breton. Halifax: Formac
Publishing Company Limited, 2006. ISBN 978-0-88780-713-8.
- Walters, Eric. The Hydrofoil Mystery. Toronto:
Puffin Books, 1999. ISBN
- Webb, Michael, ed. Alexander Graham Bell: Inventor of the
Telephone. Mississauga, Ontario, Canada: Copp Clark Pitman Ltd., 1991. ISBN
- Winfield, Richard. Never the Twain Shall Meet: Bell,
Gallaudet, and the Communications Debate. Washington, DC:
Gallaudet University Press, 1987. ISBN 0-913580-99-6.
- Wing, Chris. Alexander Graham Bell at Baddeck.
Baddeck, Nova Scotia: Christopher King, 1980.
U.S. patent images in TIFF format
- Improvement in Transmitters and Receivers for Electric
Telegraphs, filed March 1875, issued April 1875 (multiplexing
signals on a single wire)
- Improvement in Telegraphy, filed 14 February 1876,
issued March 7, 1876 (Bell's first telephone patent)
- Improvement in Telephonic Telegraph Receivers, filed
April 1876, issued June 1876
- Improvement in Generating Electric Currents (using
rotating permanent magnets), filed August 1876, issued August
- Electric Telegraphy (permanent magnet receiver), filed
15 January 1877, issued January 30, 1877
- Apparatus for Signalling and Communicating, called
Photophone, filed August 1880, issued December 1880
- Aerial Vehicle, filed June 1903, issued April
- Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian
Graham Bell Institute
- (Italian) Timeline for Antonio Meucci
Homestead, National Historic Site
- Bell Telephone Memorial erected in honor both
Bell and the Invention of the
Telephone in Brantford, Ontario's Alexander Graham Bell Gardens
- Biography and photos at the Canada's
Telecommunications Hall of Fame website
- Biographical video footage at the Canada's
Telecommunications Hall of Fame website
- Appleton's Biography edited by Stanley L.
- Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site Museum
located in Baddeck, Nova
Scotia containing many of Bell's experiments and
- Alexander Graham Bell family papers Online version
at the Library of Congress comprises a selection of 4,695 items
(totaling about 51,500 images) containing correspondence,
scientific notebooks, journals, blueprints, articles, and
photographs documenting Bell's invention of the telephone and his
involvement in the world's first telephone company, his family
life, his interest in the education of the deaf and his
aeronautical and other scientific works
- Bell's path to the invention of the
speech before the American Association for the Advancement of
Science in Boston on August 27, 1880, presenting the photophone, very clear description; published as
"On the Production and Reproduction of Sound by Light" in the
American Journal of Sciences, Third Series, vol.
XX, #118, October 1880, pp. 305â€“324
and as "Selenium and the Photophone" in Nature, September 1880
- AlexanderBell.com â€“ Telecom pioneer
- Alexander Graham Bell Biographical information, science
resources and information on 1912 Franklin Award for 'electrical
transmission of articulate speech' at The Franklin Institute's Case
Files online exhibit
- Alexander Graham Bell gravesite
- Alexander Graham Bell: Biography and Much More from
Answers.com Excellent summary of Alexander Graham Bell's life, has
many useful dates for important parts of his life
- Basilio Catania, 2003 The United States Government vs.
Alexander Graham Bell. An
important acknowledgment for Antonio Meucci
- Bell family tree
- American Treasures of the Library of
Congress, Alexander Graham Bell - Lab notebook I, pp.
40â€“41 (image 22)
- Scientists' profile: Alexander Graham Bell
- The Story of Alexander Graham Bell, 1939 film
reformatted for VCR tape, Don Ameche
playing Bell, (1966) ISBN 0-7939-1251-2
- Biography â€” Alexander Graham Bell, A&E DVD
biography based on historical footage and still pictures of Bell,
Sound and the Silence (1992) (TV) with John
Bach as Alexander Graham Bell; Canada / New Zealand / Ireland Sound and