Alexander Graham Bell (1847 - 1922) Scottish Inventor

Alexander Graham Bell | Biography for Kids

Alexander Graham Bell was born on March 3, 1847 in Edinburgh, Scotland to his father, Professor Alexander Melville Bell and his mother Eliza Grace Bell.

As a young child, Alexander displayed an interest in the world around him, collecting plants and conducting experiments. He also enjoyed spending time playing with his best friend Ben Herdman, a neighbor boy whose family operated a flour mill. At the age of twelve, Alexander was asked to help with the husking of the wheat. Laborious process that it was, young Alexander set to work on a machine that combined rotating paddles with sets of nail brushes to make the work easier. His first invention was put into operation and used steadily for several years. In return, Ben's father provided the boys with a small workshop in which to "invent."

Alexander displayed a talent for art, poetry, and music, and with no formal training became a talented pianist. He was also deeply affected by his mother's gradual deafness and learned a manual finger language so he could sit beside her and tap out the conversations around the family parlor. His preoccupation with his mother's deafness eventually led him to study acoustics.

In 1870 Bell and his family emigrated to Canada and then to the United States to teach. It was there that he pioneered "visible speech," a system developed by his father to teach deaf-mute children. In 1872 he established a school in Boston to train teachers of the deaf.

By 1875, fulfilling a long time fascination with the idea of transmitting speech, Bell had conceived an invention that turned electricity into sound - the telephone. On March 7th, 1876 Bell was granted the patent for his new device. Within a year of receiving the patent, Bell had set up the first telephone exchange in Connecticut, and in 1877, the Bell Telephone Company. In 1880 he was awarded the French Volta Prize for his telephone. With the money he earned from his telephone, Bell continued with his experiments in communication and worked with Helen Keller to develop additional techniques for teaching speech to the deaf.

Alexander Graham Bell died on August 2, 1922 at his home in Nova Scotia. He embraced the invention fever of his era and changed the world forever. Though with all his success, Bell never lost sight of the virtue of helping humanity through his efforts to improve the lives of deaf students.


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Alexander Graham Bell | Biography for Kids

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Alexander Graham Bell | Biography for Kids

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Alexander Graham Bell | Meet the Inventor Worksheet

Meet the Inventor Worksheet - Alexander Graham Bell

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