Industrial Revolution

First Telephone

Inventor: Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell was born in 1847 in Edinburg, Scotland. He was a scientist, engineer and inventor. He had two brothers named Melville James Bell and Edward Charles Bell. His father was Alexander Melville Bell and was a professor. His mother was Eliza Grace. Bell’s mother and wife were both deaf, this had a major influence on his work.


Bell was known as Aleck as a child and was interested in inventing things at a young age. His first invention was a machine that dehusked wheat faster at a flour mill that his best friends family owned.


He played the piano and was also good at entertaining people. HIs mother was deaf and Bell learned different ways to communicate with her. He used sign language and started studying acoustics.


Alexander went to Royal High School in Edinburg but didn't do very well and left at age 15. He later went to University of Edinburg and University of London.

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Invention: Telephone

In 1871, Bell started working on a harmonic telegraph. This invention sent messages through a single wire if each message was transmitted at a different pitch.


In 1874, Bell experimented with a phonautograph. This was a pen-like machine that could draw shapes of sound waves on smoked glass by tracing their vibrations.


In 1875, Bell visited scientist Joseph Henry and asked his advice about the phonautograph. Bell hoped it would transmit the human voice. He hired Thomas Watson as an assistant and they experimented with acoustic telegraphy. Bell then invented the acoustic telegraph.


In 1876, Bell was able to get his telephone to work and it was patented by the US Patent office!

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Purpose and Importance of Invention

The purpose of the invention was to allow people to communicate easier over long distances. It improved the speed of communication. People used to wait weeks or months on mail and telegraphs. The telephone also helped business growth because decisions could be made quickly and goods and services could be provided more quickly. The telephone also helped people respond to emergencies faster.

Telephones Today!

The telephone is still used today all over the world to communicate with family and friends. Most people have a phone in their home but cell phones have become more popular over the past 20 years. Phones today don't look the same as they did in 1876 at all. There are many different kinds of phones. Some are cordless and some aren't. Most people have cell phones so that it is easy to communicate at any time.
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