On March 7, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent for “transmitting vocal or other sounds telegraphically.” This invention became what we call the telephone today. On March 10, 1876, Bell said his famous line: "Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you", and one of the most influential and important inventions of modern times arrived on the scene.
Every year on March 7th, Alexander Graham Bell Day is celebrated, and we want to honor the life of this amazing man!
Who is Alexander Graham Bell
Born March 3, 1847 in Edinburgh, Scotland, Alexander Graham Bell was an inspiring scientist who new discoveries and making a difference.
His mother and wife were both deaf, and they influenced his motivation and interest in the science of sound.
From a young age, he was always a good problem solver. When he was only 12 years old he invented a farming device for his friend’s father that quickly and efficiently removed the husks from wheat grain!
Bell maintained his scientific curiosity throughout his childhood and adolescence, but it wasn't until he was a teacher and met 15-year-old Mabel Hubbard - his future wife - that he was inspired to perfect the harmonic telegraph, which was the first building block of what would become the telephone. On March 7, 1876 Alexander received a patent for his new device.
Bell died peacefully at his vacation home in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, on August 2, 1922. As a quiet but powerful tribute to Bell, people all over Canada and the United States refrained from using their telephones during his funeral.
Did you know the telephone wasn't Bell's only invention? Here are some of his other important inventions!
Alexander Graham Bell's Inventions
Bell developed his first invention at age 12. This simple agricultural device removed wheat husks and involved a nail brush and paddle connected to a rotary-brushing wheel. This important invention greatly reduced the time and labor required to husk wheat!
Bell developed a rudimentary precursor to the modern metal detector in 1881. He originally invented the device in order to find the bullet that assassinated President James Garfield!
The invention gained wider use for many years, before being replaced by modern X-ray technology.
Look Mom, No Wires!
Bell invented the photophone in 1880. It transmitted the human voice over wavelengths of light, thus serving as the world’s first wireless communication device.
Bell, believing strongly that the human voice could be carried over a wire, worked with Thomas Watson to prove his theory correct.
Their first major breakthrough came on June 2, 1875, when the pair managed to produce an audible “twang” noise that carried from the transmitting room to the receiving room.
Their efforts eventually led to the filing of a patent for the telephone on March 7, 1876.
Bell and the engineer Casey Baldwin designed a hydrofoil boat in 1919.
It broke the speed records at the time by moving at speeds of 60 knots (about 70 miles per hour)!
Alexander Graham Bell's Legacy
Throughout his life Bell was accredited for many inventions and discoveries. His inspiration and love for science, and making a difference, paved the way for significant change. He was credited for many honors, degrees, and monuments that were bestowed to him for the impact he made on the society. Some of the most notable are:
The Bell Telephone Memorial in honor of his most famous invention. It can be found in the Alexander Graham Bell Gardens in Branfort, Ontario. (1917)
Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site in Baddeck, Nova Scotia.
Alexander Graham Bell Memorial Park, honoring the ability to connect the globe through telecommunication. (1917)
Voltage Prize worth 50,000 francs (US $250,000) from the Académie Française, for invention of the telephone. (1880)
The Albert Medal was awarded to Bell by the Royal Society of Arts in London. (1902)
Commemorative Stamp: The US Patent Office declared Bell the country's greatest inventor in 1936, which lead to the US Post Office granting a commemorative stamp honoring his life and work. (1940)
Government of Canada honored him with a silver dollar coin for the 100th anniversary of flight in Canada.
Bell was named one of the 10 Greatest Scottish scientists after he entered the National Library of Scotland’s ‘Scottish Science Hall of Fame.’ (2006)