- NAME: Alexander Graham Bell
- OCCUPATION: Educator, Linguist, Inventor, Scientist
- BIRTH DATE: March 03, 1847
- DEATH DATE: August 02, 1922
- EDUCATION: Edinburgh Royal High School, Edinburgh University, University College in London
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Edinburgh, Scotland
- PLACE OF DEATH: Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada
Best Known For
Alexander Graham Bell was one of the primary inventors of the telephone, did important work in communication for the deaf and held more than 18 patents.
Thomas Edison - Inventor (4:13)
Watch a short video about Alexander Graham Bell and his invention that would change the way the world communicated forever.
Alexander Graham Bell used all his resources to get Americans to use his new invention, the telephone.
The full biography of Alexander Graham Bell.
The inventor of the light bulb, phonograph, and motion picture, Thomas Edison was granted 400 patents from 1879 to 1886. Though he changed technology forever, not all of his inventions were successful.
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Alexander Graham Bell was born on March 3, 1847, in Edinburgh, Scotland. His education was largely received through numerous experiments in sound and the furthering of his father’s work on Visible Speech for the deaf. Bell worked with Thomas Watson on the design and patent of the first practical telephone. In all, Bell held 18 patents in his name alone and 12 that he shared with collaborators. He died on August 2, 1922, in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada.
"Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds. I may be given credit for having blazed the trail, but when I look at the subsequent developments I feel the credit is due to others rather than to myself."
"Before anything else, preparation is the key to success."
"Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open."
"A man, as a general rule, owes very little to what he is born with-a man is what he makes of himself."
"America is a country of great inventors, and the greatest of inventors are the newspaper men."
"Concentrate all your thoughts on the work at hand, the suns rays do not burn until brought to a focus."
"The nation that secures control of the air will ultimately control the world."
"The most successful men in the end are those whose success is the result of steady accretion."
"What this power is I cannot say; all I know is that it exists and it becomes available only when a man is in a state of mind when he knows exactly what he wants and is determined not to quit until he finds it."
Alexander Graham Bell was born Alexander Bell on March 3, 1847, in Edinburgh, Scotland. (He was given the middle name "Graham" when he was 10 years old.) The second son of Alexander Melville Bell and Eliza Grace Symonds Bell, he was named for his paternal grandfather, Alexander Bell. For most of his life, the younger Alexander was known as "Aleck" to family and friends. He had two brothers, Melville James Bell (1845–70) and Edward Charles Bell (1848–67), both of whom died from tuberculosis.
During his youth, Alexander Graham Bell experienced significant influences that would carry into his adult life. One was his hometown of Edinburgh, Scotland, known as the "Athens of the North," for its rich culture of arts and science. Another was his grandfather, Alexander Bell, a well-known professor and teacher of elocution. Alexander's mother also had a profound influence on him, being a proficient pianist despite her deafness. This taught Alexander to look past people's disadvantages and find solutions to help them.
Alexander Graham Bell was homeschooled by his mother, who instilled in him an infinite curiosity about the world around him. He received one year of formal education in a private school and two years at Edinburgh's Royal High School. Though a mediocre student, he displayed an uncommon ability to solve problems. At age 12, while playing with a friend in a grain mill, he noted the slow process of husking the wheat grain. He went home and built a device with rotating paddles with sets of nail brushes that dehusked the wheat. It was his first invention.
Alexander's father, Melville, followed in his father's footsteps, becoming a leading authority on elocution and speech correction. Young Alexander was groomed early to carry on in the family business, but he was ambitious and headstrong, which conflicted with his father's overbearing manner. Then, in 1862, Alexander's grandfather became ill. Seeking to be out of his father's control, Alexander volunteered to care for the elder Bell. The experience profoundly changed him. His grandfather encouraged his interests, and the two developed a close relationship. The experience left him with an appreciation for learning and intellectual pursuits, and transitioned him to manhood.
At 16, Alexander Graham Bell accepted a position at Weston House Academy in Elgin, Scotland, where he taught elocution and music to students, many older than he. At the end of the term, Alexander returned home and joined his father, promoting Melville Bell's technique of Visible Speech, which taught the deaf to align specific phonetic symbols with a particular position of the speech organs (lips, tongue, and palate).
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