Alexander Graham Bell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on March 3, 1847. He spent one year at a private school, two years at Edinburgh's Royal High School, and attended a few lectures at Edinburgh University and at University College in London, but he was largely family-trained and self-taught.
Bell and Thomas Watson, a young repair mechanic and model maker, devised an apparatus for transmitting sound by electricity. On April 6, 1875, Bell was granted the patent for the multiple telegraph, which could send two signals at the one time. His research on improving the telegraph resulted in the invention of the telephone
In September 1875 he began to write the specifications for the telephone. On March 7, 1876, the U.S. Patent Office granted him a patent that covered the method of, and apparatus for, transmitting vocal or other sounds telegraphically by causing electrical undulations, similar in form to the vibrations of the air accompanying the said vocal or other sounds.
After inventing the telephone, Bell continued his experiments in communication, which resulted in the invention of the photo phone-transmission of sound on a beam of light- a precursor of today's fiber optics systems.
He also worked in medical research and invented techniques for teaching speech to the deaf. The range of Bell's inventive genius is represented only in part by the 18 patents granted in his name alone and the 12 he shared with his collaborators. These included 14 for the telephone and telegraph, four for the photo phone, one for the phonograph, five for aerial vehicles, four for hydro airplanes, and two for a selenium cell. In 1888 he founded the National Geographic Society.
Alexander Graham Bell died on August 2, 1922.
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