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Bell, Alexander Graham

Born: 1847 AD
Died: 1922 AD
Nationality: American
Categories: Educators, Inventor

1847 – Born on March 3rd in Edinburgh. A Scottish-born American audiologist best known as the inventor of the telephone.

1850 – Graduated at the Royal High School of Edinburgh.

1853 – At the age of 16 he secured a position as a pupil-teacher of elocution and music in Weston House.

1861 – Spent two years at Edinburgh’s Royal High School (from which he was graduated at 14), and attendance at a few lectures at Edinburgh University and at University College in London, Bell was largely family trained and self-taught.

1864 – He became a resident master in Elgin’s Weston House Academy, where he conducted his first studies in sound.

1867 – He was an instructor at Somerset College, Bath, Somerset, England.

1868 – Became his father’s assistant in London and assumed full charge while the senior Bell lectured in America.

1870 – Concern for their only surviving son prompted the family’s move to Canada in August, where, after settling near Brantford, Ontario, Bell’s health rapidly improved.

1871 – Bell spent several weeks in Boston, lecturing and demonstrating the system of his father’s "Visible Speech" as a means of teaching speech to the deaf.

1872 – He opened his own school in Boston for training teachers of the deaf, edited his pamphlet Visible Speech Pioneer, and continued to study and tutor.

1873 – He became professor of vocal physiology at Boston University.

1875 – On April 6th, he was granted the patent for his multiple telegraph; but after another exhausting six months of long nightly sessions in the workshop, while maintaining his daily professional schedule, Bell had to return to his parents’ home in Canada to recuperate.

         – He began to write the specifications for the telephone.

         – Bell invented his own telephone after discovering that a receiver could also be a transmitter.

1876 – On March 7th, the United States Patent Office granted to Bell Patent Number 174,465 covering “The method of, and apparatus for, transmitting vocal or other sounds telegraphically . . . by causing electrical undulations, similar in form to the vibrations of the air accompanying the said vocal or other sounds.”

1877 – Bell married Mabel Hubbard, 10 years his junior.

         – Co-founded Bell Telephone Company.

1880 – France honored Bell with the Volta Prize; and the 50,000 francs (roughly equivalent to U.S. $10,000) financed the Volta Laboratory, where, in association with Charles Sumner Tainter and his cousin, Chichester A. Bell, Bell invented the Graphophone.

1881 – Bell is credited with the invention of the metal detector.

1882 – Became a naturalized citizen of the United States.


1885 – Bell acquired land on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. There, in surroundings reminiscent of his early years in Scotland, he established a summer home, Beinn Bhreagh, complete with research laboratories.

1888 – One of the founding members of the National Geographic Society.

1893 – May 8th, was one of Bell’s happiest days; his 13-year-old prodigy, Helen Keller, participated in the ground-breaking ceremonies for the new Volta Bureau building—today an international information centre relating to the oral education of the deaf.

1898 – Bell succeeded his father-in-law as president of the National Geographic Society. Convinced that geography could be taught through pictures, he sought to promote an understanding of life in distant lands in an age when travel was limited to a privileged few.

1912 – 1918 – Chairman of the board of scientific advisors to the Eugenics Record Office associated with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York.

1919 – At Beinn Bhreagh, Bell entered new subjects of investigation, such as sonar detection, solar distillation, the tetrahedron as a structural unit, and hydrofoil craft, one of which weighed more than 10,000 pounds and attained a speed record of 70 miles per hour.

1922 – He died on August 2nd in Beinn Bhreagh, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada.