Profile of Alexander Graham Bell
By the age of 12, Bell had invented a device
Hi, I'm Christina Hartman for About.com and today we're profiling the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell.Alexander Graham Bell was born in March of 1847 in Edinburgh, Scotland. By the age of 12, Bell had invented a device to more quickly dehusk wheat. The son of a speech elocutionist, Bell spent much of his teens and early 20s between London and Scotland, experimenting with creating, manipulating and transferring sound.In 1870, Bell and his family moved to Ontario, Canada. The year after that, he went to Boston to help teach speech to deaf mutes. His students included Helen Keller.At the time, Bell was also working on an a device called the “harmonic telegraph,” an improvement to the traditional telegraph. Bell's idea was that multiple tonal messages can be transmitted through the same wire if the tones' pitches differ.Building from the harmonic telegraph research, Bell devised a system where steel reeds could vibrate in a way to send an interrupted electric current on a line that reflected the waves a user created when speaking. He discovered that with the use of a magnetic field around the reeds, speech vibrations could be converted into alternating currents that would be reflected at the other end of the line.Bell was issued a patent for the design in March o f 1876 though the device had not yet been successfully tested. Three days later, Bell spoke one of the most famous lines in American history when, through the device, he told his assistant, Thomas Watson, “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.”In August of that year, Bell publicly demonstrated his design when he sent a message to a receiver four miles away. He offered to sell the patent to Western Union for $100,000, but the telegraph company turned down the offer, saying it was nothing but a toy.In 1877, the Bell Telephone Company was created. Less than ten years later, more than 150,000 people in the U.S. owned a phone. The Bell company would transition into the American Telephone & Telegraph company, which during its history would several times be the world's largest telephone company — you probably know it as AT&T.In 1915, Bell made the first ceremonial transnational call when, from New York, he again called his assistant Thomas Watson who was in San Francisco.In addition to inventing the telephone, Bell is credited with creating the metal detector and also worked to develop airplanes. Bell died in August of 1922 in Nova Scotia.And that's a look at Alexander Graham Bell, the creator of the telephone. For more information, check out About.com.