Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell ( Edinburgh , Scotland , UK , 3 as March as 1847 – Beinn Bhreagh , Canada , 2 as August as 1922 ) was a scientist , inventor and speech therapist British . He contributed to the development of telecommunications and aviation technology. His father, his grandfather and his brother were related to work in phonation and speech (his mother and wife were deaf), which profoundly influenced Bell’s interest for research on listening and speaking, as well as their Experiments with hearing aids. 1 2 After a series of steps (which would last after for years in the form of legal claims), obtained in 1876 a patent for the telephone in the US, in March although the device had been previously developed by the Italian Antonio Meucci (who was recognized officially and posthumously as inventor of the telephone over one hundred and twenty years later, on November of June of 2002 ).

Many other inventions occupied much of Bell’s life, including the construction of the hydrofoil and studies of aeronautics . In 1888 , Alexander Graham Bell was one of the founders of the National Geographic Society and 7 of January of 1898 , assumed the presidency of this institution. 4

Early years of life and youth

Alexander Bell was born in Edinburgh , Scotland , on 3 March as as 1847 . 5 The family home was located at 16 South Charlotte Street, Edinburgh , and has a commemorative plaque near the door, signaling it as the place of his birth. He was the son of Professor Alexander Melville Bell and Eliza Grace . 6 He had two brothers, Melville James Bell ( 1845 – 1870 ) and Edward Charles Bell ( 1848 – 1867 ), who died of tuberculosis . 7 And they gave him the name of Alexander. Later he begged his father to give him a middle name, as he had done with his two brothers. 8 On the occasion of his eleventh birthday, his father allowed him to adopt “Graham” as a middle name, due to his great admiration for a Canadian friend of the family named Alexander Graham. 9 In private, Alexander Graham was known as “Aleck,” a name his father continued to use when Alexander was an adult. 10

First invention

His best friend was Ben Herdman, a neighbor whose family operated a flour mill . On one occasion, while playing, friends Ben and Aleck made a prank, John Herdman (Ben’s father) scolded them saying, “Why do not you do something useful?” Aleck asked what it was necessary to do at the mill and was told to bark the wheat, which was done through a tedious process. Then, at the age of 12, Bell built a homemade device that combined rotating paddles with sets of nail brushes, creating a simple barking machine that was running and was used for many years. 11 In thanksgiving, John Herdman gave them a small workshop so that they could “invent”. eleven

First works with the speech

Bell had inherited from his mother a sensitive nature and a particular talent for art , poetry and music . He played the piano without lessons and was the pianist of the family. 12 Despite his reserved and introspective character, possessed talent for mimicry and “voice tricks” related to ventriloquism , with which entertained the guests. 12 Alexander also was sensitized by the gradual deafness of his mother (who began to lose his hearing when Bell was only 12 years). Bell and his mother developed sign language with which Bell could discreetly convey the familiar conversation. She also developed a technique of speech in clear tones, modulated directly from her mother, where she would hear it with reasonable clarity. 14 It was Bell’s concern for his mother’s deafness that led him to study acoustics .

His family was associated with the teaching of the locution : his grandfather, Alexander Bell in London , his uncle in Dublin and his father in Edinburgh , were all announcers. His father published a variety of works on the subject, many of which remain known, especially his work The Standard Elocutionist (1860) and Treatise on Visible Discourse, which appeared in Edinburgh in 1868 . 12 15 The Standard Elocutionist was published in 168 British editions and sold more than a quarter of a million copies in the United States alone . In the book, they explain their methods for teaching the dumb to articulate words and read the movement of other people’s lips to decipher their meaning. Alexander’s father taught him and his brothers the sign language (which he then called visible speech ), in addition to identifying any symbol and its sound. 16 Alexander was so efficient in this work that he became part of the public demonstrations of his father, presenting his abilities deciphering in Latin , Gaelic and even the symbols of Sánscrito , the messages that his father transmitted to him by means of the sign language. 16


Like his brothers, Bell received his first school years at his father’s house. He was then enrolled at the Royal High School in Edinburgh , Scotland , which he left at the age of 15. 17 He was not a prominent student in school, but rather missed classes and poor grades. His main interest was in the sciences, especially biology, and he was indifferent to other school subjects, much to the dismay of his demanding father. 18

After leaving school, Bell went to London to live with his grandfather, Alexander Bell. During the year he spent with his grandfather, the love of learning grew in him, spending long hours studying and maintaining serious discussions. His grandfather devoted great efforts to his young grandson to learn to speak clearly and with conviction, qualities he would need to become a teacher. 19 At the age of 16, Bell secured a position as an apprentice professor of locution and music at the Weston House Academy in Elgin , Moray , Scotland . Although a student of Latin and Greek , he taught in a permanent position and £ 10 per session. 20 The following year he attended the University of Edinburgh , meeting with his older brother Melville who had enrolled there the previous year, and where Alexander set out to take the exams but later graduated from the University of Toronto .

First experiments with sound

His father stimulated the interest of their children by the speech and, in 1863 , took them to see a robot made by Sir Charles Wheatstone based on the earlier work of Baron Wolfgang von Kempelen . 21 The rudimentary “mechanical man” had the peculiarity that he simulated a human voice. Alexander was fascinated by the machine and obtained a copy of von Kempelen book published in Germany , who translated barely , and with that information, Alexander and his older brother Melville built their own automaton head. His father, very interested in the project, paid for the materials. 21 While his brother built the throat and larynx , Alexander did the most difficult task, recreating a realistic skull . His efforts resulted in a remarkable head that could “speak” some words. 21 The boys carefully adjusted their “lips” to pass a draft of air through the trachea and produce the very recognizable “mama” sound. The invention pleased the neighbors. 22

Intrigued by the results of the automaton , Bell continued to experiment with a living being, the Skye terrier family, “Trouve”. 23 After Bell taught him to growl continually, Aleck reached out to his mouth and manipulated the dog’s lips and vocal cords to produce a raw sound “Ow ah oo ga ma ma.” Visitors thought her dog could articulate “How are you grandma?” And her experiment convinced viewers that they had seen “a talking dog.” 24 However, Bell’s initial experiments led him to undertake his first serious work on sound transmission , using tuning forks to explore resonance . At the age of 19, he wrote a report of his work and sent it to Alexander Ellis , his father’s colleague 24, and Ellis responded immediately stating that the experiments were similar to existing works in Germany .

Dismayed to learn that the work had already been done by Hermann von Helmholtz , who had transported over a vowel sound by means of a similar tuning fork, Bell devoted himself to studying the book of German scientist, Sensation of Tone ( Sensation tone ). From his translation of the original German edition, Alexander made a conjecture from which he would develop all his future work on the transmission of sound : “Without knowing much about the subject, it seems to me that if a sound vowel can be produced by means Electric , and so could consonants , allowing articulation of speech . ” 25

Family tragedy

In 1865 , when the Bell family moved to London , 26 Alexander returned to Weston House as an assistant and in his spare time, continued his sound experiments using minimal laboratory equipment. There he concentrated on experimenting with electricity to transmit sound and then installed a telegraph cable from his room at Somerset College to another of a friend. 27 During autumn and winter , his health worsened, with marked fatigue. His younger brother Edward “Ted” was also hospitalized, diagnosed with tuberculosis . While Alexander recovered, he served the following year as an instructor at Somerset College. On the contrary the health of his brother continued to worsen, and finally he would pass away. After the death of his brother, Bell returned home in 1867 . His older brother, “Melly” married and moved in, with aspirations to earn a degree at the University of London , Bell devoted the following years to preparing entrance exams, using his free time at his family’s residence to study.

Collaborating with his father on sign language and reading demonstrations, he led Bell to the private school for the deaf of Susanna E. Hull in South Kensington , London . Her first two students were “deaf-mute”, who made remarkable progress under her tutelage. Meanwhile, his older brother seems to achieve success on many fronts, including the founding of his own school for speech , focusing on the patent of an invention , and starting a family. In May of 1870 , Melville died from a complication of tuberculosis , causing a family crisis. His father had also previously suffered a debilitating illness and had been healed after convalescence in Newfoundland and Labrador . Bell’s parents advanced a long-planned move when they realized their remaining son was also sick. Making a quick judgment, Alexander Melville Bell consulted Bell to be able to sell all the family property, concluding all his brother’s affairs (Bell took a last pupil, curing a pronounced lisp) and joined with his mother and father in the idea To leave for the ” New World “. 28 29 30 Therefore, Bell had to conclude his relationship with Marie Eccleston, who admitted that she was not prepared to leave England with him. 29


In 1870 , Bell, his parents and his brother’s widow, Caroline (Margaret Ottaway), embarked on the SS Nestorian to Canada . 31 32 After arriving in Quebec , they traveled by train to Montreal and later to Paris , Ontario to meet with the Reverend Thomas Henderson, a friend of the family. After a short stay at the Reverend’s , they bought a ten-and-a-half acre farm in Tutelo Heights (now called Tutela Heights) near Brantford , Ontario. The property consisted of an orchard , a large house, a barn a henhouse and parking for carriage , all along the Grand River . 33

Bell installed his workshop in the garage , next to the “place of his dreams”, 34 a large space surrounded by trees at the back of the property bordering the river. 35 Despite its fragile condition, Bell found of their taste the climate of Canada , and quickly adapted. 36 His interest in the study of the human voice continued when he discovered the Six Nations Reserve on the other side of the river in Onondaga . 37 There he learned the Mohawk language and translated it into sign language. For this work, he was awarded the distinction of honorary head and even participated in a ceremony, where he wore a Mohawk dress and danced his traditional dances. 38

After installing his workshop, Bell continued his experiments with electricity and sound . 34 He designed a piano that could transmit his music at a distance through electricity. Once installed, Bell and his father made plans to establish a teaching practice. In 1871 he accompanied his father to Montreal , where Melville proposed a position to teach his “System for Visible Speech” or sign language .

Working with the deaf

His father was later invited by Sarah Fuller, a rector of the Boston School for Deaf Mutes (Boston School for Deaf Mutes, continued today as The Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing ), 39 in Boston , Massachusetts , USA , to train To his instructors in the “Visible Speech System” or sign language , but rejected the offer by giving his place to his son. Bell traveled to Boston in April of 1871 and concluded a successful training plan. 40 He was then asked to repeat the program at the American School for the Deaf- Mutes 41 in Hartford and at the Clarke School for the Deaf 42 in Northampton .

Returning home to Brantford, after six months abroad, Bell continued his experiments with his “harmonic telegraph.” 43 The basic concept behind the device was that messages could be sent through a single wire while each message was transmitted at a different pulse. 44 Unsure of his future, he contemplated returning to London to complete his studies, but decided to return to Boston as a teacher. Four. Five

His father helped him in his early days by contacting Gardiner Greene Hubbard , the president of the Clarke School for the Deaf , from whom he obtained a recommendation. 42 Teaching his father’s system in October 1872 , Alexander opened a school in Boston called Vocal Physiology and Mechanics of Speech ( Vocal Physiology and Mechanics of Speech ), which attracted a large number of deaf students ( 30 students attended the first class). 46 47 Working as a private tutor, one of his most famous students was Helen Keller , who attended classes with Bell from an early age, without the ability to see, speak or hear. Keller would later manifest that Bell had dedicated his life to the penetration of the “inhuman silence that separates and strangles.” 48


Bell appropriates the invention of the telephone

Main article: The inventor of the phone was not Alexander Graham Bell but Antonio Meucci

The November of June of 2002 , the Official Gazette of the United States House of Representatives issued Resolution No. 269, by which the life and work of the Italian – American inventor honored Antonio Meucci (1808-1889). In the same it is recognized that it was not Alexander Graham Bell who invented the phone, but Meucci. It is further stated that Meucci demonstrated and published his invention in 1860, concluding with an acknowledgment of his authorship of said invention. 49

Next developments

After patenting the phone, Bell began a series of demonstrations and public lectures to introduce his invention to the scientific community as well as to the general public. In 1872 , Bell showed the telephone to the president of the United States Rutherford B. Hayes , and this one said to him that it was a great invention, but it was asked who would want to use it. 50 His demonstration at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876 made the phone headlines around the world the next day. 51 Influential visitors as the Emperor Pedro II of Brazil could observe the invention. Bell then had the opportunity to personally show his invention to William Thomson, the first Baron Kelvin , the renowned Scottish scientist for his studies in thermodynamics , and even to Queen Victoria I of the United Kingdom , who called for a private audience at Osborne Castle , At his home on the Isle of Wight . The queen called the show extraordinary . The enthusiasm surrounding Bell’s public demonstrations helped the acceptance of the revolutionary device. 52

The Bell Telephone Company was created in 1877 and by 1886 , more than 150,000 people in the United States owned telephones. The company’s Bell engineers introduced numerous phone enhancements, which became one of the most successful products. In 1879 , Bell’s company acquired the Edison patents for the Western Union Coal Microphone . This made the handset practical for long distances, unlike Bell’s voice-operated transmitter that required users to yell at it to be heard on the receiving telephone, even at short distances. The 25 of January of 1915 Alexander Graham Bell sent the first transcontinental phone call, from 15 Day Street in New York City , which was received by Thomas Watson at 333 Grant Avenue in San Francisco , California . The New York Times reported:

The 9 as October as 1876 , Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Watson spoke by phone with each other through a wire stretched between Cambridge and Boston . That was the first conversation held through a wire. In the afternoon yesterday ( 25 of January of 1915 ) the same men spoke by telephone with a cable 3,400 miles between New York and San Francisco . Mr. Bell was in New York and his partner Mr. Watson was on the opposite side of the continent. They were heard more clearly than in the first conversation, of 38 years ago. 53

The figure of Bell was used repeatedly by AT & T and the group companies in their advertising, as part of an elaborate image policy. Despite his presence in the ceremonies, he played no active role in the technical development of the business that was created around his patent. 54


For 18 years, the Bell Telephone Company faced 600 claims from inventors claiming to have invented the phone, without missing a single case. Bell’s laboratory notes and letters to the family were the key to accurately establishing the dates of the origin of his experiments. 55

One of the main demands was brought by the Italian inventor Antonio Meucci , who claimed to have created the first operating model of a telephone in Italy in 1834 . In 1876 , Meucci brought Bell to justice to establish his priority. Meucci’s operating models had been mislaid, it was reported, by exactly the same laboratory at Western Union where Bell conducted his experiments. Meucci lost his case due to the lack of material evidence of his inventions. Meucci’s work, like that of many other inventors of the period, was based on earlier acoustic principles. 56

Paradoxically, more than a hundred years later, thanks to the efforts of Congressman Vito Fossella , resolution 269 of the United States House of Representatives from November to June of 2002 decided that the work of Meucci in the invention of the telephone should be Recognized, even if this moral decision has no material consequences. 57

Bell, however, had to contend until his death with phone patent litigation, such as when he was late in paying the German patent amount and the Siemens and Halske (S & H) became a rival manufacturer of the phones Of Bell under his own patent, producing nearly identical copies of Bell’s telephone without paying royalties. 58 A series of agreements in other countries finally consolidated the global implementation of the telephone.

The tension motivated in Bell by its constant appearances before the courts , necessary by the numerous legal battles, caused its resignation of the company. Many cases were repetitive, and were resolved by the resignation of their rivals over time, such as the suit of inventor Elisha Gray (who had also patented on his own a telephone device and claimed his rights in court). 59

In 2013 Smithsonian researchers retrieve the voice of Graham Bell, recorded on wax and cardboard discs 125 years ago, using optical technology. 60 61

Family life

The November of July of 1877 , a few days after he founded the Bell Telephone Company , Bell was married Mabel Hubbard (1857-1923) at the Hubbard estate in Cambridge (Massachusetts) , and soon after launched a moon Honey of one year for Europe . During this trip, Bell brought a model of his phone with him.

Although dating had begun years ago, Bell waited until he was financially secure before marrying. Although the phone seemed to be an “immediate” success, it was not initially a profitable enterprise and the main sources of Bell’s income were the conferences until after 1897 . 62 would have four children: Elisa (Elsie) May Bell ( 1878 – 1964 ) to marry Gilbert Grosvenor , editor of the National Geographic Society , Marian Hubbard Bell (known as Daisy) ( 1880 – 1962 ) and two other children who died in his childhood.

In 1882 , Bell became a naturalized American citizen . Bell’s family maintained their residence in Washington DC , where Bell set up his laboratory. In 1915 , he described his condition as: “I am not one of those” scripted Americans “who affirm loyalty to two countries. 63 Despite this statement, Bell would be claimed as a “native son” by Canada , Scotland, and the United States . 64 By the summer of 1885 , the Bells had a vacation on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia , spending time in the small village of Baddeck . Upon returning in 1886 , Bell began building a property in the middle of the Baddeck camp , overlooking the Bras d’Or Lake . In 1889 there was already a large house, named The Lodge (‘the cottage’ in Spanish) and two years later the construction of a larger complex of buildings began, which the Bells would name Beinn Bhreagh ( Gaelic : ‘ beautiful mountain’ ) In honor of the ancestral Alexander Highlands of Scotland . 65 Bell would spend his last days and some of his most productive years in the residence of Washington DC and Beinn Bhreagh. 66

Later inventions

  • Wikimedia Commons hosts multimedia content on Bell’s many inventions .

Although Alexander Graham Bell is most associated with the invention of the telephone, his interests were varied. According to one of his biographers, Charlotte Gray, Bell’s work ran “without restrictions across the scientific landscape” and often went to bed reluctantly reading the Encyclopaedia Britannica , detonating for new areas of interest. 67 The breadth of Bell’s inventive genius is represented only in part by the 18 patents granted in his own name alone and by the other 12 patents he shared with his collaborators. A total of 14 for the telephone and the telegraph, four for the phonograph , one for the phonograph , five for air vehicles, four for “hydroplane planes” and two for selenium cells . Bell’s inventions covered a wide range of interests and included a “steel lung” to aid breathing, an audiometer for mild hearing problems, a device to locate icebergs, research into how to separate salt from water And its work in the search for alternative fuels .

He worked extensively in medical research and invented techniques for the teaching of speech to the deaf. During his time at the Volta Laboratory , Bell and his associates considered the possibility of recording a magnetic field on a disc as a means of sound reproduction. Although the trio briefly experimented with the concept, they could not develop a viable prototype. They abandoned the idea, not realizing that they had glimpsed a basic principle that would one day find its application on the tape recorder , hard drives , floppy disks and other magnetic storage media.

Bell’s own house used a primitive form of air conditioning, with fans that pushed air currents through large blocks of ice. He also anticipated modern concerns such as fuel shortages and industrial pollution. Methane gas , he reasoned, could be produced from waste from farms and factories. In its Canadian state of Nova Scotia, it experimented with composting waste and devices to capture water from the atmosphere. In an interview for a magazine published shortly before his death, he reflected on the possibility of using photovoltaic solar panels to heat houses.


Bell and his assistant Charles Sumner Tainter co-invented a cordless phone, the so-called photophone , which allowed the transmission of normal human sounds and conversations through a beam of light . 68 69 The two men later became full partners in the Volta Laboratory .

On June 21, 1880, Bell’s assistant transmitted a voice message with his mobile phone system at a considerable distance, from the roof of the Franklin School (in Washington DC) to the window of Bell’s laboratory, about 200 M away, 19 years before the first radio voice transmission. 70 71 72 73

Bell opined that the beginning of the photograph was the “greatest achievement” of his life, to the point that shortly before his death he told a journalist that “The photophone is the greatest invention I have ever made, greater than the telephone” . 74 The photophone was a forerunner of fiber-optic communications systems that became popular around the world in the 1980s. 75 76 The main patent was published in December 1880, many decades before the principles of the photophone arrived To be of popular use.

Metal detector

Bell was also credited with developing one of the earliest versions of a metal detector in 1881. The device was rapidly developed in an attempt to find the bullet housed in the body of the US president. James Garfield after suffering the attack that would end his life a few days later. According to some reports, the metal detector worked perfectly in the tests, but did not find the killer’s bullet partly because the metal bed frame on which the chair lay disturbed the operation of the device. 77 The president ‘s surgeons, who were skeptical of the device Bell ignored requests to move the president to a bed without metal parts or springs. 77 Alternatively, although Bell had detected a slight sound on his first test, the bullet might have been too deep to be detected by the primitive instrument. 77

The detailed account of the case drawn up by Bell himself and presented to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1882 differs in several particular points from most of the multiple and varied versions currently in circulation, especially in drawing the conclusion That the outer metal was not responsible for the impossibility of locating the bullet. Perplexed by the peculiar results he had obtained during a Garfield examination, Bell “returned to the Presidential Residence the next morning … to check with the surgeons if they were completely certain that all the metal had been removed from the area of ​​the Then he remembered that beneath the mattress of horsehair where the President lay, there was another mattress made of steel wires.After obtaining a duplicate, he found that the mattress consisted of a kind of interwoven web of steel wires, The area of ​​the [detector producing area] was so small in comparison to the bed area that it seemed reasonable to conclude that the steel mattress had not produced any detrimental effect on the device. ” In a footnote, Bell added that “President Garfield’s death and subsequent post-mortem examination , however, showed that the bullet was too far away from the surface to be detected by our apparatus.” 78


In March 1906, the magazine Scientific American published an article of American pioneer William E. Meacham explained the basic principle of hydrofoils and hydroplanes boats. Bell considered the invention of the seaplane as a very significant achievement. Based on the information obtained from this article, he began to outline concepts of what is now called a seaplane. Bell and his assistant Frederick W. “Casey” Baldwin began experimenting with a hydrofoil in the summer of 1908 as a possible help to take off planes from the water. Baldwin studied the work of Italian inventor Enrico Forlanini and began to build test models. This led Bell to develop waterborne vehicles that were in practice hydrofoil.

During his world tour from 1910 to 1911, Bell and Baldwin met with Forlanini in France. They took walks in the hydrofoil of Forlanini on Lake Maggiore . Baldwin described the experience as smooth as the sensation of flying. Upon returning to Baddeck, a number of initial concepts were developed as experimental models, including the Dhonnas Beag (in Scottish Gaelic, Little Devil ), the first self-propelled hydro-baldwin Bell-Baldwin. 79 The experimental boats were essentially prototypes of test concepts culminating in the HD-4 , plus a consolidated design engines powered by Renault . A maximum speed of 87 km / h was reached with the catamaran, which exhibited great acceleration and good stability and steering, with the ability to take waves without difficulty. 80 In 1913, Bell hired Walter Pinaud, a designer and yacht builder in Sydney, as well as the owner of the Pinaud Shipyard in Westmount, Nova Scotia to work on the HD-4 pontoons. Pinaud soon took over the shipyards of Bell Laboratories in Beinn Bhreagh, near the Bell Building in Baddeck, Nova Scotia . Pinaud’s experience in boatbuilding allowed him to make design changes that were useful for HD-4. After World War I, work began again on the HD-4. Bell’s report to the US Navy allowed him to obtain two 350-hp engines in July 1919. On September 9, 1919, HD-4 set a world record sea speed of 114 km / h, 81 a record Maintained for ten years.


By 1891, Bell had begun a series of experiments to develop heavier-than-air powered aircraft. The AEA was formed when Bell shared the vision of the flight with his wife, who advised him to seek “young” help since he had reached the age of 60.

In 1898, Bell experimented with tetrahedral box kites and wings constructed by joining several of these kites lined with crimson silk fabric. Bell was inspired in part by the work of the Australian aeronautical engineer Lawrence Hargrave with manned box kites. 82 Hargrave refused to patent their inventions, in a manner similar to Bell not apply for patents for some of his inventions decision. Bell also chose the crimson silk for being very visible on the light colored sky for the realization of photographic studies on his experiences of flight. The tetrahedral wings were named Cygnet I, II and III, and were tested – both manned and unmanned – ( Cygnet I crashed during a flight carrying Selfridge) in the period between 1907-1912. Some of Bell’s comets are currently on display at the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site . 83

Bell was a supporter of aerospace engineering research through the Aerial Experiment Association (AEA), officially formed in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, in October 1907 at the suggestion of his wife Mabel and with his financial support after the sale of some Their real estate. 84 The AEA was led by Bell and the founding members were four young people: American Glenn H. Curtiss , then a motorcycle manufacturer who had the title “the world’s fastest man”, after riding a motorcycle built by him And subsequently was awarded the Scientific American Trophy for the first official one-kilometer flight in the Western Hemisphere, and later became a world-renowned manufacturer of aircraft; Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge , an official observer of the US Federal Government And one of the few people in the military who believed that aviation was the future; Frederick W. Baldwin , the first British-Canadian to fly a public flight in Hammondsport , New York; And J.A.D. McCurdy . Baldwin and McCurdy were recent engineering graduates of the University of Toronto . 85

The AEA’s work progressed toward heavier-than-air machines, applying their knowledge of comets to gliders. Moving on to Corning, the group then designed and built the Red Wing , with bamboo structure, covered in red silk and powered by a small air-cooled engine. 86 On March 12, 1908, over Keuka Lake , the biplane lifted off on the first public flight in North America. 87 88 The innovations incorporated into this design included a cockpit for the pilot and a tail rudder (later variations on the original design incorporated ailerons as a means of flight control). One of the inventions of the AEA, a practical form of wing flap to install the wing , would become a standard component in all airplanes. 89 The White Wing and the June Bug were going to be the following designs and by the end of 1908, more than 150 flights had been made without mishap. However, the AEA had exhausted its initial reservations and only an extraordinary contribution of Mabel Gardiner of $ 15,000 allowed to continue the experiments. 90 Lt. Selfridge had also become the first person killed in a flight with a heavier than air in a motor vehicle accident with a Wright Model A in Fort Myer , Virginia , on September 17, 1908.

Its final aircraft design, the Silver Dart , embodies all the advances made in previous aircraft. On February 23, 1909, Bell was able to witness as the Silver Dart piloted by JAD McCurdy, made the first flight of the aircraft in Canada starting from the frozen surface of Bras d’Or. 91 Bell was worried because he thought the flight was too dangerous and had arranged for a medical team was present. The AEA was successfully disbanded and the Silver Dart returned to Baldwin and McCurdy, who founded the Canadian Aerodrome Company and subsequently demonstrated the aircraft to the Canadian Army . 92


See also: Eugenics in the United States

Along with many prominent thinkers and scientists of the time, Bell was related to the eugenics movement in the United States. In 1881 he investigated the rate of deafness in Martha’s Vineyard , Massachusetts, and on November 13, 1883, he presented to the National Academy of Sciences his Memoir Upon the Formation of a Deaf Variety of the Human Race 93 ( Memoir on the Formation of a Deaf Variety of The human species ) where he concluded that parents with congenital deafness were more likely to have deaf children and suggested that couples in which they were both deaf should not marry. 94 However, it was his fondness for livestock breeding which led to his appointment to the David Starr Jordan ‘s Committee on Eugenics (Committee of Eugenics David Starr Jordan) under the auspices of the American Breeders’ Association (Breeders Association from America). This committee unambiguously extended its postulates to the human species. 95 From 1912 to 1918 he chaired the board of scientific advisors of the Eugenics Record Office associated with the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York and regularly attended the meetings. He was honorary president of the Second International Eugenics Congress held in New York in 1921 under the auspices of the American Museum of Natural History . Organizations such as these advocated (successfully in some states) for the passage of laws that would establish forced sterilization of persons considered, Bell called them, a “defective variety of the human race.” By the late 1930s, about half of the states in the US UU. Had eugenic laws and the laws of California were a model for eugenic laws in Nazi Germany .


In 1880 , Bell received the Volta prize of the French Academy of Sciences and invested the money obtained with this prize (50 thousand francs) in the development of a new project, the photographer , in collaboration with Charles Sumner Tainter. The invention attempted to transmit the sound using a beam of light, a precursor of the optical fiber . He also worked on one of the earliest known sound recording systems, based on printing a magnetic field to reproduce sounds. The idea was abandoned because a prototype could not be built; However, the basic principles would find practical applications almost a century later, on magnetic tapes and computers.

Bell received several distinctions, among them the French Legion of Honor , the Volta Prize mentioned above, the Albert medal of the Royal Society of Arts, the Edison Medal, and a doctorate from the University of Würtzburg. He registered 18 individual patents , and twelve more with his collaborators, including 14 by telephone and telegraph , four by the photophone , one by the phonograph, nine by air vehicles (including four hydroplanes ) and two by selenium cells . Bell was also awarded the invention of the metal detector, in 1881 .


Bell died of pernicious anemia the 2 of August of 1922 at his home Beinn Bhreagh, Nova Scotia , at the age of 75 years. 96 His wife Mabel took care of him in his last months. He was buried in the nearby mountains. He left a widow and two daughters, Elisa May and Marion. 97


  • The ” decibel “, unit of sound intensity, owes its name to Alexander Graham Bell.
  • The lunar crater Bell bears this name in his honor.


  1. Back to top↑ School Network Mexico «School Network Mexico: Alexander Graham Bell » . Accessed March 26, 2008 . “During his stay in Boston he fell in love with a deaf-mute student, Mabel Gardiner Hubbard , who encouraged him to continue his investigations, and with whom he married in 1877.”
  2. Back to top↑ Bruce 1990, p. 419.
  3. Back to top↑ Alejandro Graham Bell . [Links] Susaeta Ediciones SA Vidas Ilustres Barcelona, ​​Spain ISBN 84-305-1109-1 p. 20. “The Exhibition Rewards Committee (Commemorative Exhibit of the First Centennial of the United States Declaration of Independence ) carefully reviews the apparatus, which had already been patented and improved by Bell in 1876 with the number 174,465.”
  4. Back to top↑ History of the National Geographic Society «What is NG?» . Accessed March 26, 2008 .
  5. Back to top↑ Alejandro Graham Bell . [Links] Susaeta Ediciones SA Vidas Ilustres Barcelona, ​​Spain ISBN 84-305-1109-1 pg, 13.
  6. Back to top↑ «Alexander M. Bell Dead. Father of Prof. AG Bell Developed Sign Language for Mutes. “(” Alexander M. Bell died. Father Professor AG Bell, who developed the sign language fordeaf “) The New York Times Tuesday , 8 of August of 1905 .
  7. Back to top↑ Alexander Graham Bell’s Timeline “The Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers: Time Line of Alexander Graham Bell, 1847-1869” (in English) . Accessed March 26, 2008 .
  8. Back to top↑ “Call Me Alexander Graham Bell” (in English) . Franklin Institute. Archived from the original on November 26, 2015 . Accessed March 26, 2008 . Note: Normally, Alexander wrote his full name in correspondence.
  9. Back to top↑ Groundwater 2005, p. 2. 3.
  10. Back to top↑ Bruce 1990, p. 17-19.
  11. ↑ Jump to:a b Bruce 1990, p. 16.
  12. ↑ Jump to:a b c Gray 2006, p. 8.
  13. Back to top↑ Gray 2006, p. 9.
  14. Back to top↑ Mackay 1997, p. 25.
  15. Back to top↑ Mackay 1997, p. 24.
  16. ↑ Jump to:a b Petrie 1975, p. 7.
  17. Back to top↑ Mackay 1997, p. 31.
  18. Back to top↑ Gray 2006, p. eleven.
  19. Back to top↑ Town 1988, p. 7.
  20. Back to top↑ Bruce 1990, p. 37.
  21. ↑ Jump to:a b c Groundwater 2005, p. 25.
  22. Back to top↑ Petrie 1975, pp. 7-9.
  23. Back to top↑ Petrie 1975, p. 9.
  24. ↑ Jump to:a b Groundwater 2005, p. 30.
  25. Back to top↑ Groundwater 2005, p. 31.
  26. Back to top↑ Micklos 2006, p. 8.
  27. Back to top↑ Bruce 1990, p. Four. Five.
  28. Back to top↑ Bruce 1990, p. 68.
  29. ↑ Jump to:a b Groundwater 2005, p. 33.
  30. Back to top↑ Bruce 1990, pp. 67-68. Note: The family pet was given to his brother’s family.
  31. Back to top↑ Mackay 1997, p. fifty.
  32. Back to top↑ Petrie 1975, p. 10.
  33. Back to top↑ Mackay 1997, p. 61. Note: The property is still known as the Bells’ home .
  34. ↑ Jump to:a b Wing 1980, p. 10.
  35. Back to top↑ Groundwater 2005, p. 3. 4.
  36. Back to top↑ Mackay 1997, p. 62. Note: Bell would then write that he had arrived in Canada as a “dead man”
  37. Back to top↑ Note: See article in the English Wikipedia in: Six Nations 40, Ontario
  38. Back to top↑ Groundwater 2005, p. 35.
  39. Back to top↑ Bruce 1990, p. 74.
  40. Back to top↑ Town 1988, p. 12.
  41. Back to top↑ Note: See article in the English Wikipedia in: American School for the Deaf
  42. ↑ Jump to:a b Note: See article in the English Wikipedia in: Clarke School for the Deaf
  43. Back to top↑ Alexander Graham Bell 1979, p. 8.
  44. Back to top↑ Groundwater 2005, p. 39.
  45. Back to top↑ Petrie 1975, p. 14.
  46. Back to top↑ Town 1988, p. 12-13.
  47. Back to top↑ Petrie 1975, p. fifteen.
  48. Back to top↑ Petrie 1975, p. 17.
  49. Back to top↑ «Ephemeris. June 11, 2002. Meucci invents the phone » , article published on June 11, 2015 on the website The Point on History.
  50. Back to top↑ Puchta, Herbert; Stranks, Jeff (2010) [2004]. «It’ll never happen». Inglés in Mind (English) . Cambridge University Press. P. 76. ISBN  9788483237908 .
  51. Back to top↑ Webb 1991, p. fifteen.
  52. Back to top↑ Ross 1995, p. 21-22.
  53. Back to top↑ “Phone From the Atlantic to Pacific” (in English) . The New York Times. Original: January 26, 1915 . Retrieved on April 5, 2008 .
  54. Back to top↑ Garcia Algarra, Javier (2010). “The American influence in Telefónica’s public relations strategy during the 20’s and 30’s.” , IEEE HISTELCON 2010, p. 2.
  55. Back to top↑ Groundwater 2005, p. 95.
  56. Back to top↑ Bruce 1990, p. 271-272.
  57. Back to top↑ «Rep. Fossella’s Resolution Honoring True Inventor of Telephone To Pass House Tonight ” (in English) . June 11, 2002. Archived from the original on November 26, 2015 . Consulted on April 3, 2008 .
  58. Back to top↑ Mackay 1997, p. 178.
  59. Back to top↑ Parker 1995, p. 2. 3.
  60. Back to top↑ «This was the voice of Alexander Graham Bell» . April 26, 2013 . Retrieved on April 26, 2013 .
  61. Back to top↑ “Scientists are able to recover recordings 125 years ago in Alexander Graham Bell’s laboratory . Retrieved on April 26, 2013 .
  62. Back to top↑ Dunn 1990, p. 28.
  63. Back to top↑ In English: hyphenated American , a derogatory way of referring to immigrants and their descendants. It refers to the script or hyphen of the compound forms ‘Irish-American’, ‘Italo-American’, ‘Polish-American’ with which they describe their origins. Cfr. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language , 4th. Ed., Houghton Mifflin Company, 2009.
  64. Back to top↑ Bruce 1990, p. 90, 471-472.
  65. Back to top↑ Tulloch 2006, pp. 25-27.
  66. Back to top↑ MacLeod 1999, p. 22.
  67. Back to top↑ Gray, 2006 , p. 219.
  68. Back to top↑ Bruce, 1990 , p. 336.
  69. Back to top↑ Jones, Newell (31 July 1937). «First ‘Radio’ Built by San Diego Resident Partner of Inventor of Telephone: Keeps Notebook of Experiences With Bell» . Evening Tribune . San Diego, California . Retrieved on July 23, 2016 .
  70. Back to top↑ Carson, 2007 , pp. 76-78.
  71. Back to top↑ Bruce, 1990 , p. 338.
  72. Back to top↑ Groth, Mike (April 1987). «Photophones Revisted» . Amateur Radio (Melbourne, Australia: Wireless Institute of Australia ): 12-17 . Consulted on September 19, 2015 .
  73. Back to top↑ Mims III, Forest M. (February 10-26, 1982). «The First Century of Lightwave Communications» . Fiber Optics Weekly Update (Information Gatekeepers): 11 of 6-23.
  74. Back to top↑ Phillipson, Donald JC; Neilson, Laura (March 4, 2015). Alexander Graham Bell . The Canadian Encyclopedia (online edition). Historica Canada . Consulted on September 19, 2015 .
  75. Back to top↑ Morgan, Tim J. (2011). University of North Texas , ed. The Fiber Optic Backbone . Retrieved on September 19, 2015 .
  76. Back to top↑ Miller, Stewart E. (January-February 1984). Lightwaves and Telecommunication . American Scientist (Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society) 72 (1): 66-71.
  77. ↑ Jump to:a b c Grosvenor and Wesson, 1997 , p. 107.
  78. Back to top↑ Bell, Alexander Graham (1882). Upon the electrical experiments to determine the location of the bullet in the body of the late President Garfield; And upon a successful form of induction balance for the painless detection of metallic masses in the human body . Washington, DC: Gibson Brothers. P. 33 . Retrieved on April 29, 2013 .
  79. Back to top↑ Boileau, 2004 , p. 18.
  80. Back to top↑ Boileau, 2004 , pp. 28-30.
  81. Back to top↑ Boileau, 2004 , p. 30.
  82. Back to top↑ Technical Gazette . New South Wales, Australia. 1924. p. 46.
  83. Back to top↑ “Nova Scotia’s Electric Scrapbook.” . Retrieved: December 29, 2009.
  84. Back to top↑ Gillis, Rannie (September 29, 2008). “Mabel Bell Was A Focal Figure In The First Flight Of The Silver Dart .” Cape Breton Post (Sydney, Nova Scotia) . Consulted on June 12, 2010 .
  85. Back to top↑ «Canada’s Golden Anniversary» . Flight 75 (2614): 280. February 27, 1959 . Retrieved August 28, 2013 .
  86. Back to top↑ Phillips, Allan (1977). Into the 20th Century: 1900/1910 . (Canada’s Illustrated Heritage). Toronto, Ontario: Natural Science of Canada. P. 95. ISBN  0-919644-22-8 .
  87. Back to top↑ “Selfridge Aerodrome Sails Steadily for 97 m.” Washington Post May 13, 1908.
  88. Back to top↑ At 25 to 30 miles per hour. First public trip of a vehicle heavier than air in the United States. New machine from Professor Alexander Graham Bell, built according to Lieutenant Selfridge’s plans, demonstrating his feasibility with a flight over Lake Keuka . The tail portion controls the course, bringing the test to an end. Points of view of an expert Hammondsport , New York, March 12, 1908.
  89. Back to top^ The spoiler was conceived as early as 1868 by the British inventor MPW Boulton and was also created independently by Robert Esnault-Pelterie and several others.
  90. Back to top↑ Phillips, 1977 , p. 96.
  91. Back to top↑ «Link with Canadian Pioneers» . Flight 70 (2491): 642. October 19, 1956 . Retrieved August 28, 2013 .
  92. Back to top↑ Phillips, 1977 , pp. 96-97.
  93. Back to top↑ Memoir Upon the Formation of a Deaf Variety of the Human Race .
  94. Back to top↑ Bell, Alexander Graham (1883). “Memoir upon the formation of a deaf variety of the human race .” Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf . Accessed December 13, 2007 .
  95. Back to top↑ Bruce 1990, pp. 410-417.
  96. Back to top↑ Gray 2006, p. 418.
  97. Back to top↑ «Dr. Bell, Inventor of Telephone, Dies ” (in English) . The New York Times . Original August 3, 1922 . Retrieved on April 5, 2008 .