Alexander Graham Bell
American inventor and educator

1847 - 1922

Alexander Graham Bell, an American inventor and educator, is best known for his invention of the telephone. Bell was 27 years old when he worked out the principle of transmitting speech electrically, and was 29 when his basic telephone patent was granted in 1876. About one hour after Bell left the Patent Office another inventor, Elisha Gray, entered the office with documents to register his telephone.

The telegraph had been invented before Bell's time. Signals, music, and even voicelike sounds had been transmitted electrically by wire. But human speech had never been sent by wire. Many inventors were working to accomplish this, and Bell was the first to succeed.

Bell's great invention stemmed from his keen interest in the human voice, his basic understanding of acoustics, his goal of developing an improved telegraph system, and his burning desire for fame and fortune. Bell, a teacher of the deaf, once told his family he would rather be remembered as such a teacher than as the inventor of the telephone. But the telephone was of such great importance to the world that Alexander Graham Bell's name will always be associated with it.

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