Bell (bèl), Alexander
Scottish-born American inventor of the telephone. The first demonstration of electrical transmission of speech by his apparatus took place in 1876. Bell also invented the audiometer, an early hearing aid, and improved the phonograph.
Bell, Alexander Graham
Bell, Alexander Graham (1847-1922),
American inventor and teacher of the deaf, most famous for his invention
of the telephone. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Bell immigrated to the United
States in 1871. There he began teaching deaf-mutes, publicizing the system
called visible speech, which shows how the lips, tongue,
and throat are used in the articulation of sound. In 1872 Bell founded
a school for deaf-mutes, which subsequently became part of Boston University.
In 1874, while working on a multiple telegraph, Bell developed the basic
ideas for the telephone. His experiments with his assistant Thomas Watson
finally proved successful in 1876. The Bell Telephone Company was organized
Bell's other inventions include the photophone, which transmits speech by light rays; the audiometer, used to measure acuteness of hearing; the induction balance, used to locate metal objects in human bodies; and the first wax recording cylinder, introduced in 1886. Bell was one of the cofounders of the National Geographic Society, and he also founded the journal Science in 1883. After 1895 Bell's experiments and inventions were in the fields of aeronautics and marine propulsion.
Alexander Graham Bell, 28, pioneers the electric telephone that will revolutionize communication. The Scottish-American inventor came to the United States in 1871 as a teacher of speech to the deaf and conceived the idea of "electric speech" last year while visiting his parents at Brantford, Ontario. While trying to perfect a method for carrying more than two messages simultaneously over a single telegraph line, Bell hears the sound of a plucked spring along 60 feet of wire June 2 in the attic electrical workshop of Charles Williams at 109 Court Street, Boston. The spring has been plucked by Bell's young assistant Thomas A. Watson who is trying to reactivate a harmonic telegraph transmitter, one of several whose reeds or springs are each tuned to a different signal frequency; a contact screw has been screwed down so far that a circuit has been left unbroken that should have been broken only intermittently and a current is being transmitted that corresponds to a reed in Bell's room. When he hears the sound of the plucked spring he recognizes its significance and realizes that the speaking telephone can be achieved by means of a simple mechanism.
Communications and Media, 1876
"Mr. Watson, come here. I want you," says Alexander Graham Bell March 10 (or so Watson will later recount) in the first complete sentence to be transmitted by voice over wire. Bell has improved the telephone he invented in 1875, has been granted a patent on his 29th birthday March 3, and uses the instrument at 5 Exeter Place, Boston, to speak with his assistant Thomas A. Watson. Elisha Gray of the 4-year-old Western Electric Co. will challenge the patent, the courts will uphold Bell's claim, and Western Electric will manufacture the Bell telephone.
The National Geographic begins publication in October at Washington, D.C., where the National Geographic Society is founded by Alexander Graham Bell's father-in-law Gardiner Greene Hubbard who founded the magazine Science with Bell 5 years ago. The new quarterly will begin monthly publication in 1896, publish its first color plates in 1906, and in February 1910 will adopt a yellow-and-white cover.
Communications and Media, 1880
The first wireless telephone message is transmitted June 3 by Alexander Graham Bell on the photophone he has invented (see Hertz, 1887; Marconi, 1895).
The Perkins Institution founded
in 1829 receives a request from telephone pioneer Alexander Graham Bell
to examine 6-year-old Helen Adams Keller who lost her sight and hearing
at 19 months of age. Teacher Anne Mansfield Sullivan, 20, of the Perkins
Institution travels to the Keller home, starts work with young Helen March
2, and quickly teaches her to feel objects and associate them with words
spelled out by finger signals on the palm of her hand; Helen soon can feel
raised words on cardboard and make her own sentences by arranging words
in a frame.