Edinburgh, Scotland, March 3, 1847-Beinn Bhreagh, Canada, August 2, 1922

Alexander Graham Bell was a scientist and inventor whom the invention of the telephone was attributed, the apparatus for massive use. His father, grandfather and brother were skilled in diction, and the progressive deafness of his mother secured his interest in the workings of sound and listening devices.

In 1870 he moved to Canada with his family and a year later traveled to America to give a series of lectures at Boston University about sign language or “system of visible speech.” Its success was immediate, and in 1872, he founded in Boston the School of Vocal Physiology and Mechanics of Speech. Eventually, the school became part of Boston University, where Graham Bell began teaching classes of Vocal Physiology in 1873.

Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell / Source: Library of Congress

He worked with Thomas A. Watson, an electrical and mechanical designer, to give shape to his ideas of transmitting voice via electricity. Soon he designed a device that converted electricity into sound and in March of 1876, Bell told Watson through his invention: “Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you!” While they were in separate rooms. Three months later, the inventor increased the distance from meters to miles between listeners, facilitating the transformation of the apparatus into a communication medium.

In 1876, he obtained a patent for his device but a man named Antonio Meucci claimed to be the true inventor of the telephone, which caused hundreds of lawsuits and serious debates until 2002. Anyway, Graham Bell spent the next months promoting the use of the telephone through public demonstrations and in 1877 he founded the Bell telephone Company, which became one of the largest phone companies globally with the name of AT&T. Over time the number of Americans who owned telephones increased significantly.

In 1880 he was awarded the Volta Prize and later founded the Volta Laboratory in Washington. He became one of the founders of the National Geographic Society and president of it until 1904. He was also awarded the invention of the metal detector in 1881.