ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL
best for his invention of the telephone, Alexander Graham
Bell spent a lifetime promoting language and technology for
the benefit of the deaf.
After an education at Edinburgh University, he worked with
his father (an elocution teacher), and emigrating to Canada
in 1870, then the USA, he spent a time as professor of
vocal physiology and Elocution at Boston.
His work at this time centred around 'visible speech' (a
method of lip reading) and a machine to allow deaf people
to hear sound telegraphically.
It was this transmitter-receiver that led him to the development
of a proto-telephone. His patent in February 1946 came
one month before the first famous telephone transmission
in which Bell said to his assistant, 'Mr Watson, come here,
I want you'.
The following year he formed the Bell Telephone Company,
becoming rich on the proceeds of its commercial success.
Bell continued to teach deaf students throughout his life,
marrying one of them, Mabel Hubbardly, in 1877. They had
Bell continued inventing, following a move to Canadian
Maritimes in 1886. His phonograph, hydrofoil, iron lung
and flying machines proved he was a visionary who realised
the applicability of technology to modern life.
He never had much time for his most famous invention, however
- "I never use the beast", he said of his own
telephone, whose bell he had stuffed with paper.