Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell Biography
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Alexander Graham Bell biography

Alexander Graham Bell (March 3, 1847 – August 2, 1922), his hometown was Edinburgh, Scotland. His parents Alexander Melville Bell and Eliza Grace Symonds Bell. The second name “Graham” was added when he was 10 years old. He had two brothers, Melville James Bell, and Edward Charles Bell, both of whom died of tuberculosis. Her father and grandfather were experts in the mechanics of voice and elocution, meanwhile, Eliza, who was almost deaf, was a great pianist and inspired him to undertake great challenges, and she always instilled in Alexander an infinite curiosity for the world. He received one year of formal education at a private school and two years at the Royal High School in Edinburgh. Although he was not a prominent student, he showed an impressive ability to solve problems.

During his youth, Alexander Graham Bell attended a period to the University of Edinburgh and the University College London, but he did not manage to finish his studies, so his training was basically self-taught. In his hometown, known as the Athens of the North, for its rich culture of arts and science, allowed Bell to exploit and enhance the projects he had in his head. One of them is research on the transmission of speech.

The sudden death of his older brother because of tuberculosis, a disease that had also killed his younger brother, had a negative impact on the physical and emotional health of Alexander Graham Bell, for that reason he and his family moved in 1870 to Brantford, Canada. A year later, Alexander left for Boston, USA, where he worked as a Clarke School for the Deaf in Northampton, Massachusetts, and at the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut. Also, he took the opportunity to popularize the system called visible language. He began to be known in the academic world, fame and income that he acquired allowed in 1872 to found a school for deaf and dumb in Boston, Massachusetts, which was later annexed to the University of Boston, where he served as professor of vocal physiology. In addition, in this same year, he obtained the American nationality.

“When one door closes, another opens, but often we see so much time and with such sadness the door that closes that we do not notice another door that has been opened for us.” Alexander Graham Bell

The spectacular results of his work soon generated a well-deserved reputation among the scientific community, receiving offers from universities to give various conferences, his lectures were of great quality, he always mentioned his father’s work, Visible speech, and gave small advances on the machine that today we know as a telephone. In 1876, the Centennial exhibition was held in Philadelphia, at which time his invention was launched around the world. Then he joined forces with a group of investors led by Gardiner Hubbard to establish a federal telegraph company to compete with Western Union. They entered into an agreement with the Post Office to send low-cost telegrams. Hubbard saw a great offer in the harmonic telegraph and defended Bell’s experiments. Founding in 1877 the Bell Telephone Company.

The company generated high revenues, so much so that, with the profits, Bell in 1878 opened the first telephone exchange in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. In this he worked intensely, it took more than 10 years for the first long distance call to be made between the cities of Boston and New York. At first, the phone raised all kinds of ironic and unbelieving comments, but by revealing itself as a functional long-distance communication medium, it aroused controversial lawsuits over the commercialization of the patent because other scientists were working along the same lines, including an Italian-American Antonio Meucci.

In 1880, Bell was awarded the French Volta prize, awarding him 50,000 francs, for his innovative invention and contribution to humanity. With this money he founded the Volta Laboratory in the city of Washington, working in collaboration with Charles Sumner Tainter, invested the money and all his forces in the development of a new device, the phonograph, one of the first known sound recording systems. He also conducted experiments in communication, medical research, and methods of teaching speech to the deaf, working together with Helen Keller, among other prominent figures.

“A person without a practical end in sight becomes a crank or an idiot.” Alexander Graham Bell

The father of his wife Mabel Gardiner Hubbard became the main promoter of their investigations. He was one of the co-founders of the National Geographic Society and from 1897 to 1904 he would become the president. This help contributed a lot to the diffusion of Bell’s inventions, for example, the audiometer, used to measure the hearing acuity, the induction balance and the first cylinder of wax to burn.

After his death on August 2, 1922, on his property in Nova Scotia as a result of complications arising from his diabetes, he left as inheritance eighteen patents to his name and twelve more with his collaborators. Throughout his life, Bell tried to promote the advancement of scientific knowledge, his work was recognized by that on the day of his burial the telephone services of the United States stood for one minute in his honor.

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