Alexander Bell


Alexander Graham Bell—teacher, scientist, inventor, gentleman—was one whose life was devoted to the benefit of mankind with unusual success. Known throughout the world as the inventor of the telephone, he made also other inventions and scientific discoveries of first importance, greatly advanced the methods and practices for teaching the deaf and came to be admired and loved throughout the world for his accuracy of thought and expression, his rigid code of honor, punctilious courtesy, and unfailing generosity in helping others. The invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell was not an accident. It came as a logical result of years of intense application to the problem, guided by an intimate knowledge of speech obtained through his devotion to the problem of teaching the deaf to talk and backed by two generations of distinguished activity in the field of speech. Bell's grandfather, Alexander Bell (born at St. Andrews, Scotland, 1790, died at London, 1865) achieved distinction for his treatment of impediments of speech, also as a teacher of diction and author of books on the principles of correct speech and as a public reader of Shakespeare's plays. Young Alexander Graham Bell, at the age of 13, spent a year in London with his grandfather. He was already interested in speech through his father's prominence in this field, and this visit stimulated him to serious studies. Bell afterwards spoke of this year as the turning point of his life. Bell's father, Alexander Melville Bell (born in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1819, died at Washington, 1905), was for a time professional assistant to Alexander Bell, then he became lecturer on elocution in the University of Edinburgh. He developed "Visible Speech," a series of symbols indicating the anatomical positions which the speaking organs take in uttering different sounds. This won him great distinction and, with improvements made by Alexander Graham Bell, is still a...