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Celebrating the Life and Achievements of Alexander Graham Bell

Tue 27 Mar, 2012 // Firstnumber Team
A.G. Bell made cheap international calls possible

This month we’re celebrating the life and achievements of Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, born on March 3rd, 1847 in Edinburgh. Well and truly a man to be admired, the world-renowned Scotsman developed his groundbreaking idea after adopting his father and grandfather’s interest in elocution. Predominantly educated at home, with only two years spent at Edinburgh Royal High School, at the young age of 16, Bell was already spending his free time researching the mechanics of speech.

After stints of working as a teacher and his father’s assistant, and after the untimely death of his brothers, Bell moved to Canada with his family in 1870 but relocated to the USA a year later, where he pioneered his father’s so-called “visible speech” writing system to teach deaf-mute children. In Boston, the inventor set up a school to train teachers of the deaf. The school later became part of Boston University where Bell was awarded a professorship in vocal physiology.

In 1875, the professor came up with a receiver that could turn electricity into sound, and transmitted his first message to his trusty assistant. Granted a patent for the device in 1876, the telephone soon became a major success with 30,000 in use around the world in just three years’ time.

After winning the prestigious French, $10,000-worth Volta Prize in 1881, Bell set up the Volta Laboratory in Washington, D.C. where he worked together with his two cousins. In 1882, the Scotsman became a naturalised US citizen. A further laboratory was set up in Beinn Bhreagh, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Bell didn’t cease experimenting and inventing after the rise of the telephone. He developed the first practical system of sound recording, worked on air cooling systems and desalinating sea water, and produced a hydrofoil craft.

Alexander Graham Bell passed away on 2nd August, 1922 at his home in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Thanks to Bell’s legendary invention, it’s now possible to make cheap international calls worldwide from both landlines and mobiles.

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