Alexander Graham Bell – Scottish Inventor
He was born in Scotland on March 3, 1847, into a family that was associated with teaching the art of public speaking. His father, Alexander Melville Bell, had published some works on the subject, notably his treatise on “Visible Speech” (1868). Educated at the Royal High School of Edinburgh, he graduated at the age of 13. He also spent a year at the University of Edinburgh and graduated from the University College of London. While still in Scotland, Bell turned his attention to the science of acoustics in an attempt to help his mother who was deaf.
Emigration, Boston University and Marriage
In 1870, at the age of twenty-three, he immigrated with his family to Canada and settled in Brantford. He became fascinated with the concept of communication and designed a piano, which could transmit music by means of electricity. In 1873, he traveled to Boston and became Professor of Vocal Physiology and Elocution at Boston University’s School of Oratory. In March of 1876, he was granted a patent for the Telephone which was the culmination of his attempts to create a machine that would help him communicate better with both his wife and his mother. In 1877, he married Mabel Hubbard, a deaf mute who had been one of his students. Her father became the primary financial backer of many of Bell’s early inventions.
Inventor And Innovator
Many of Bell’s ideas are now part of our everyday lives. His visions included the concept of the respirator, the tape recorder (using a magnetic field to reproduce sound), air-conditioning (fans blew currents of air across great blocks of ice in his home), and the metal detector (a device used in an attempt to find the bullet on the body of James A. Garfield). He is also responsible for the very early conceptualization of the hydrofoil boat.
Eugenics And Death
Bell was a proponent of the Eugenics movement in America. Oddly, much of his thought about “defective people” centered on the deaf population, which his life’s work was dedicated to helping. While his attitudes may border on Nazism and are arrogant to say the very least, they are also considered mainstream for that time and place in history.