Alexander Graham Bell (1847–1922)

Alexander Graham Bell

1847 Alexander Graham Bell was born on the 3rd of March at Edinburgh, Scotland, within the family of a speech therapy teacher. He was an eminent Scottish-born scientist, inventor, engineer and innovator who is credited with inventing the first practical telephone. He was not a wonder child; he was interested in natural sciences collections. He had an admirable musical hearing that is why he was devoted to music but he also learnt his father’s job.

1862 Being 15 years old he graduated the secondary school.

He started to study at University in Edinburgh and to teach to a school in Elgin; then he studied medicine at University in London.

1871 He moved to the USA together with his parents and became American citizen.

Since he worked in Elgin Bell started to deal with some acoustic experiments. He studied Helmholtz’s works that urged him to research sound waves.

1873 He became a teacher of speech physiology at University in Boston, even which marked the beginning of his activity regarding inventions.

The study of speech mechanics made him think to the possibility to create a device for telegraphic connection. He experienced the transmission of news on telegraph path using as a membrane a tin included into an electromagnet. Then, together with Thomas Watson, he experienced news’ transmission and reception, the basis of electromagnetic principle.

During telegraphy experiments he discovered the phone principle.

1875-1877 In this time he was given three patents of inventions. Phone discovery brought him some trials; however his priority was confirmed. During his activity, Bell was mainly dedicated to the next two fields: the development of multiple telegraphy principle and the study of air waves reaching the ear during receiving speech sound. He built several assistive devices in order to teach deaf and dumb people speak. He was also concerned to create the phonograph and, in competition with Edison, the wax cylinder having spiral recordings proved to be better.

Bell became the founder of phone production. He set up a magazine called “American Science and Association” for speech teaching. He did an activity sustained within Smithson Institute, whose administrator he was starting with 1898. He enjoyed a great success and the phone company he established has even nowadays in its logo a blue bell that was part of one of his drawings since childhood.

1922 Alexander Graham Bell died on the 2nd of August at Cape Breton Island, New Scotland, Canada.

Bell (B) is a unit of measure for sound intensity. It was named in his honour. Decibel is a unit measure that expresses the relative value of acoustic intensity as a decimal logarithm of the report between the intensity of a sound and the standard intensity (baseline).

The phone is one of the most used devices by telecommunication services in the world. Even if there were important improvements to the way the messages are transmitted on long distances, the basic principle has changed only a little during centuries.



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