Most famously known for his invention of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell was influenced in his career by his father who taught elocution to the deaf. His family moved around a lot and Bell went on to teach the deaf at various schools in New England. While teaching, Bell began to show interest in telegraph innovation, which eventually led to his famous invention.
Bell grew up with a deaf mother and suffered the deaths of his two brothers. In 1871, Bell moved from Canada to the United States where he began his teaching career. In 1877, Bell married one of his students, Mabel Hubbard, and had four children with her.
Bell eventually became obsessed with looking for a way to transmit several telegraph messages simultaneously over a single wire. The invention of the telephone was a result of this research as Bell wanted to find a way to transmit the human voice.
In 1876, Bell tried filing a patent describing his method of transmitting sounds, beating out other competitors who had also tried filing a patent based on the telephone design. On March 10, 1876, he was able to produce intelligible speech, summoning his assistant by saying “Mr. Watson — come here — I want to see you.”
Over the next few years, Bell continued to refine his invention to make it good enough to finally show to the public. In 1877, Bell Telephone Company was eventually established and Bell became the company’s technical advisor.
After the telephone invention, Bell decided to move on to bigger and better things and invented the phonograph, which recorded and reproduced sound on a rotating cylinder wrapped in tinfoil. He also set up the Volta Laboratory where he researched deafness and looked for ways to improve the lives of the deaf.
Bell’s interests continued to change over the years, which in turn helped him develop an early version of the metal detector. He even made significant progress in aircraft design and control.