Ever so often in history someone great comes along and changes the face of the world forever with their groundbreaking inventions. Someone that takes the adage necessity breeds invention as an inspiration to create something that was previously unheard of and completely unimaginable.
One such name that comes to mind is that of Alexander Graham Bell. This visionary has been credited with an invention so powerful that it changed the way we communicate for good. But that is not the only thing to his credit. He was an inventor through and through, executing creations that would realise their true potential long after he was gone.
Let us delve into the life and inventions of this pathbreaker who could think ahead of his times!
The life of Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell’s inventions include a list of notable creations. However, before we discuss them, it is vital to take a peek into the life of this creator so we can better understand what inspired him to change the world.
Bell was born in the Scottish city of Edinburgh on March 3rd in the year 1847. Born to a professor of elocution father and deaf mother, Bell was always interested in the theory of sound. An interest that was further deepened when he married his deaf wife in 1877.
Bell showed a stroke of genius early on in his childhood. He was always intellectually curious and took to the piano like his mother, who could play adeptly despite being deaf. Unfortunately, his education went through rough patches, especially after the death of both of his brothers, which was caused by the then deadly disease of tuberculosis.
Though Graham Bell’s inventions started early, he was never very academically inclined. He was rather more driven towards solving problems, applying himself to come up with devices that could perform tasks that would make life easier.
For example, when he was just 12 years old, he invented a contraption that was capable of separating husk from rice in a quick and efficient manner, thus preventing farmers from manually doing so, which saved a lot of time. This contraption made use of nail brushes and rotating paddles to complete the task it was invented for.
When he turned 16, Bell developed an interest in the mechanics of speech and started studying it. He studied at the University of Edinburgh and Royal High School before moving to Canada with his family after the death of his brothers.
From then on, he moved to the USA and began his career as a teacher for deaf students. He established his School of Vocal Physiology and Mechanics of Speech in the city of Boston. The school specialised in teaching deaf people speech. He then later on became a professor of Vocal Physiology at the Boston University where he met his wife. And thus began the era of Alexander Graham Bell’s inventions.
Alexander Graham Bell and his world-changing inventions
It was the year 1871 when Bell began work on a new machine known as the harmonic telegraph. This device used a wire to transmit several messages at once. During his time spent in perfecting this device, Bell became increasingly drawn towards using wires to transmit human voice instead of coded messages.
In 1875, Bell joined hands with Thomas Watson – inventor of a receiver that had the ability to generate sound from electricity. Together they created an apparatus that could transmit vocal sounds in a telegraphic manner, thus paving the way for the world’s first telephone!
Though it was believed that other scientists such as Elisha Grey and Antonio Meucci were working on a similar device at the exact same time, Bell beat them to it by filing a patent for his invention hours before they could. It was after that on 7th March, 1876 that he got to make the world’s most famous and first phone call which went, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want you.” And thus, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone.
However, Graham Bell’s inventions did not stop there. He also went on to create the following devices:
- Metal detector: The contraption that we now use to detect the presence of metal underground or during security checks at airports, malls, metro stations and more was actually invented by Bell. His thought behind it, you ask? It was to discover the bullet inside James A. Garfield, who was the president of America back then, was killed during an assassination attempt.
- Photophone: Not unlike the telephone, the job of the photophone was to transmit voice messages via beam of light. Quite fascinating, is it not? Mr. Bell sure liked finding different ways to transmit sound from one point to the other.
- Graphophone: This invention paved the way for the gramophone. What the graphophone could do at that point was something no other device could do. It had the capability of not only recording audio but it could even play back sound. Much like the modern audio equipment of today. You could say that Bell’s technology was used as a base to create future recording and playback devices. A truly incredible feat!
- Audiometer: Last on the list audiometer, and it was inspired by Bell’s passion to help the deaf in any way that he could. The audiometer was designed to help pick up hearing problems that people may have, thus helping in the diagnosis of deafness.
Alexander Graham Bell and his inventions have had a truly profound impact on society. He was a true visionary and an inventor. The creation of the telephone has been one of the most historic and important modern day milestones. If it were not for telephones, communicating all the way across while sitting in your house would not be as easy as it is today. You can say this invention was revolutionary. He will be a man history will always remember and modern-day society will forever be indebted to.
But before we wrap up, here is a fun fact: did you Bell never got a telephone installed in his own home? He feared it would be too distracting and would keep him away from his work! If you put that into perspective and think about how addictive smartphones can get, considering a first generation telephone to be distracting would almost feel like a joke! But it is food for thought.
That said, we hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the life and inventions of Alexander Graham Bell. His story is both enlightening and inspiring! At EuroKids, we encourage our preschool students to think freely and innovatively. We support and nurture the talents they display, giving them the safe to grow up into leaders and innovators of tomorrow. Visit us to know how we do that!