Alexander Graham Bell

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Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell is a name of great significance in American history today. A skillful inventor and generous philanthropist, he astounded the world with his intuitive ideas that proved to be both innovative and extremely practical in the latter half of the 19th century. Most notable, of course, are Bell's work in developing the telephone and his venerable life-long endeavor to educate the deaf. Originally, his only wish was to help deaf people overcome their difficulty in learning verbal communication, and later was pushed into researching the possibility of a device that could transmit the human voice electronically over a distance. After building his first working telephone model, Bell's fame spread quickly as people in America and around the world began to realize the awesome potential this wonderfully fascinating new device held in store for society (Brinkley 481). His telephone an instant success and already a burgeoning industry, A. G. Bell decided to turn his attention back to assisting the deaf and following other creative ideas including the development of a metal detector, an electric probe which was used by many surgeons before the X ray was invented, a device having the same purpose as today's iron lung, and also a method of locating icebergs by detecting echoes from them. With his many inventions (especially the insanely popular and universally applied telephone), his efforts to educate the deaf, and the founding and financing of the American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf (now called the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf), Alexander Graham
Bell has become a very important historical figure indeed (Berstein 9).
Perhaps a key factor in Bell's successful life was his invigorating background. His family and his education definitely had a deep influence on his career. Born in Scotland, his mother was a painter and an accomplished musician, his father a teacher of the deaf and speech textbook writer. His father invented "Visible Speech," a code of symbols which indicated the position of the throat, tongue, and lips in making sounds. These symbols helped guide the deaf in learning to speak. His grandfather, also named Alexander Bell, had similarly specialized in good speech. He acted for several years and later gave dramatic readings from Shakespeare. Young Alexander Graham Bell had a great talent for music. He played by ear from infancy, and received a musical education. Later,
Bell and his two brothers assisted their father in public demonstrations in
Visible Speech, beginning in 1862. He also enrolled as a student-teacher at
Weston House, a boys' school, where he taught music and speech in exchange for
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