On This Day In History: Eminent Scottish-Born Inventor Graham Bell Born – On Mar 3, 1847

On Mar 3, 1847, was born Alexander Graham Bell, an eminent Scottish-born scientist, inventor, engineer and innovator who is credited with inventing the first practical telephone.

Bell was born in Edinburgh, to a family of speech therapists. For three generations, The Bells had been the leading authorities on elocution and speech correction. The young Bell was trained to enter the family profession. At the age of 16 Bell began researching the mechanics of speech.

He was educated in Edinburgh and in London. In 1870, he emigrated with his family to Canada, and the following year he moved to the United States to teach. There, he pioneered a system called visible speech, developed by his father, to teach deaf-mute children.

In 1872 Bell founded a school in Boston to train teachers of the deaf. The school subsequently became part of Boston University, where Bell was appointed professor of vocal physiology in 1873. Bell had long been fascinated by the idea of transmitting speech, and by 1875 had come up with a simple receiver that could turn electricity into sound. In March 1876, Bell was granted a patent for the telephone and it developed quickly.

Within a year the first telephone exchange was built in Connecticut and the Bell Telephone Company was created in 1877, with Bell the owner of a third of the shares, quickly making him a wealthy man.

In 1880, Bell was awarded the French Volta Prize for his invention and with the money, founded the Volta Laboratory in Washington, where he continued experiments in communication, in medical research, and in techniques for teaching speech to the deaf.

He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1882.

Bell invented several other useful devices including the first working metal detector.

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