In March of 1847, Alexander Graham Bell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. The United Kingdom includes Scotland. Bell’s mom almost lost her hearing entirely. His dad was an elocution teacher for the hearing-impaired. His father taught elocution to the hearing-impaired, and his mother was nearly deaf. So it’s not surprising that Bell’s adult interests revolve around the deaf, given his extensive background working with them as a child.
But high school was something Bell was not particularly enthusiastic about. He dropped out of high school when he was 15 years old. The Bell family relocated to London, England in 1865, and Graham Bell enrolled at University College London the following year. Unfortunately, he failed to graduate for a second time. The deaths of two of Bell’s brothers to tuberculosis in 1870 prompted his family to make the decision to relocate to Canada.
Bell moved to Boston, Massachusetts not long after relocating to Canada. There, he took a position instructing students at the local deaf institution. Actually, he was a teacher at several institutions in the northeastern United States before settling in Hartford, Connecticut, a city not too far from New York City.
Bell met a young student named Gardiner Greene Hubbard, who was the daughter of the school’s founder, Gardiner Greene Hubbard. Bell was ten years older than Gardiner when they married, but the two fell in love and went through with it anyway. They had four children together, only two of whom made it to adulthood.
During his time as a professor, Bell developed an interest in the study of emerging technologies, or novel uses for existing machinery and tools, by applying his scientific training to the field. Alexander Graham Bell followed in the footsteps of Scotland’s many famous inventors by developing an interest in the field.
Many late-19th-century scientists and engineers were able to apply the knowledge they gained in one field to others, making them pioneers in multiple fields. One well-known person who fits this description is Thomas Edison. It’s also worth mentioning Alexander Graham Bell. At the outset, Alexander Graham Bell was fascinated by telegraph technology.
During the latter half of the nineteenth century, the “telegraph” became one of the most common means of communication. Transmission of information via wires via electrical signals became possible with the invention of the telegraph.
This made possible the rapid exchange of information across previously inconceivably large distances. The telegraph’s rising popularity in the middle of the nineteenth century prompted researchers to seek out ways to enhance the technology, such as making it possible to send messages in both directions and simultaneously.
Aside from Tesla, another well-known American inventor, Thomas Edison, was also among the first to develop a method for doing so. Edison devised a method by which multiple messages could be sent simultaneously over a single telegraph wire. However, some people (including Alexander Graham Bell) argued, “Well, why should we stop at four?” Perhaps we ought to make an effort to increase the frequency of our communications.
Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell were just two of the many inventors who tried to top Edison’s record of four signals. As many as ten signals were attempted to be received. Now, Alexander Graham Bell’s father-in-law, surnamed Hubbard, decided to fund Bell’s work on these innovations, particularly with telegraph machines.
Nonetheless, Bell, like many inventors before and after him, grew tired of simply thinking of new ways to increase the throughput of the telegraph system. The concept of communicating via wired voice messages intrigued him. Both he and Elisha Gray, his rival or competing inventor, sought to develop a system for transmitting spoken word over a network.
Bell finally had a good idea in early February of 1876, and he tried to get a patent for it from the United States government. On February 14, 1876, Bell submitted an application for a patent to the United States Government Patent Office.
Elisha Gray arrived with his patent idea just a few hours later that same day, but it was already too late. Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent by the government because he beat Elisha Gray to the office by a few hours. This patent has been called the “most valuable” in the development of technology. As a result of Alexander Graham Bell’s patent and ideas, telephones are now a common sight in the streets of virtually every city and town around the globe.
A working telephone designed by Bell didn’t arrive for a few more weeks. The original telephone transmission occurred on March 10, 1876. It had been the first call. Bell had contacted Watson from within the same house, where Watson was working as Bell’s assistant. His request was straightforward: “Mr. Watson, come here. I really need to meet you.