Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell was born March 3, 1847 in Edinburgh, Scotland. March is also the anniversary of his most famous invention: the telephone. In 1875, after receiving a patent for the transmission of multiple telegraph signals on a single wire, Bell and his assistant Thomas Watson, set out to invent the telephone. Success came on March 10, 1876. [Editor’s Note: An updated version of this topic can be found here: Alexander Graham Bell]

Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers5 stars

This Library of Congress exhibit currently contains 1400 items documenting Bell's invention of the telephone and his involvement in the first telephone company. It will eventually triple in size. "Included among Bell's papers is his experimental notebook containing the entry from March 10, 1876, describing the first successful experiment with the telephone, during which he spoke through the instrument to his assistant the famous words, 'Mr. Watson -- Come here -- I want to see you.'"

Alexander Graham Bell: The Inventor4 stars

Although the telephone is Bell's most famous invention, it is not, by a long shot, his only invention. "Alexander Graham Bell's first invention, a device for cleaning wheat, was developed when he was just eleven years old. At the age of 75, a year before his death, he received a patent on the fastest water craft in the world: the HD-4. Between these two inventions, Bell's fertile brain formulated hundreds of new concepts." Air conditioning, CD-ROMS, and solar heating panels are a few of the many modern conveniences that can be traced to Bell.

American Experience: More about Bell4 stars

At the age of fourteen, "while visiting London with his father, Aleck was mesmerized by a demonstration of Sir Charles Wheatstone's 'speaking machine.' Upon their return to Edinburgh, Melville Bell, Sr. challenged Aleck and his older brother to come up with a model of their own. Working out of their home, the industrious pair created an apparatus consisting of a facsimile mouth, throat, nose, maneuverable tongue, and bellow lungs. What's more, the contraption actually produced human-like sounds." This PBS site tells the amazing story of Bell's prodigious talents and the empire he created.

Brain Spin: Alexander Graham Bell5 stars

Take your brain out for a spin with this fabulous fun site (my pick of the day) from AT&T Labs. Don't stop after you've perused the Bell pages, learned how he taught his dog to talk and played the mix-and-match game. Click on the spinning red brain to play Switch a Roo (Can you route calls as fast as a telephone switching computer?) or take a ride on the Infobahn and learn about Building the Network of Networks. You'll need Java and Shockwave to take full advantage of the interactivity. Try it. You'll like it.

Cyber Telephone Museum4 stars

When you think of an old-fashioned telephone, what image comes to mind? Whether it's a crank wall phone or a potbelly desk set, you'll likely find it in Ron Christianson's antique telephone collection. The best clicks are Interesting Facts you'll find listed under History, and the Picture Index. If you want to wander off topic, try an excursion along the Unusual Museums of the Internet WebRing. Yes, Virginia, there is a Toaster Museum.

Honorable Mentions

The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!

Alexander Graham Bell's Path to the Telephone

Anatomy of a Phone Call

Experiments for Kids Created by Bell

Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Alexander Graham Bell." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 24 Feb. 1999. Web. 4 Sep. 2015. < >.

About This Page

By . Originally published February 24, 1999. Last modified February 24, 1999.

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