Alexander Graham Bell

Our Inventor Project

Alexander Graham Bell's Life

  • Alexander Graham Bell was an influential scientist, engineer and inventor.

  • He was born on March 3, 1847 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He died on August 2, 1922 at the age of 75.

  • He is widely credited with the invention of the first practical telephone.

  • Bell’s mother and wife were both deaf, this had a major influence on his work.

  • He didn’t have the middle name “Graham” until he turned 11 when his father gave it to him as a birthday present. He’d earlier asked to have a middle name like his two brothers.

  • Bell became an excellent piano player at a young age.

  • When he was 23, Bell and his parents moved to Canada.

  • Bell studied the human voice and worked with various schools for the deaf.

  • Bell experimented with sound, working with devices such as a ‘harmonic telegraph’ (used to send multiple messages over a single wire) and a ‘phonautograph’ (used to record sound).

  • He worked on acoustic telegraphy with his assistant, an electrical designer named Thomas Watson.

  • On February 14, 1876, Bell and an American electrical engineer named Elisha Gray both filed patents with the U.S. Patent Office covering the transmission of sounds telegraphically. There is debate about who got there first but the patent was awarded to Bell. A few days later he succeeded in getting his telephone to work using elements similar to those of Gray’s water transmitter.

  • Bell’s first words with the working telephone were spoken to his assistant Watson and were along the lines of “Mr Watson, come here. I want to see you.”

  • Bell improved on the design and by 1886 more than 150000 people owned telephones in the United States.

  • Bell also had a strong interest in other scientific fields, conducting medical research, searching for alternative fuel sources, experimenting with metal detectors, developing hydrofoil watercraft and much more.

  • Famous Alexander Graham Bell quotes include: "Before anything else, preparation is the key to success."

  • "A man, as a general rule, owes very little to what he is born with - a man is what he makes of himself."

  • "The day will come when the man at the telephone will be able to see the distant person to whom he is speaking."

  • "The inventor looks upon the world and is not contented with things as they are. He wants to improve whatever he sees, he wants to benefit the world; he is haunted by an idea. The spirit of invention possesses him, seeking materialization."


Alexander Graham Bell invented the:
  • telephone.
  • metal detecter
  • hydrofoil
  • dehusking device
  • microphone