Alexander Graham Bell, a successful business man, scientist, innovator and engineer was born on this date in 1847.
In 1876, at the age of 29, Alexander was awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone (patent # 174,465). Soon afterward in 1877 he formed the Bell Telephone Company.
With the financial success of the telephone, he was able to further his research and experiments. He influenced many other areas of life, often a reaction to daily events. One such invention was an electromagnetic device called an induction balance to try and locate a bullet lodged in President Garfield in 1881 – the attempt was not successful. Later, after his son died from respiratory problems, he designed a metal vacuum jacket that would help with breathing – the forerunner to the Iron Lung.
A little bit of Bell trivia:
- In 1898 he became the president of the National Geographic Society
- His mother and his wife were both deaf
- He met Helen Keller when she was 6 years old
- Bell & Casey Baldwin’s HD-4 hydrofoil boat set a world marine speed record in 1919
There are a number of books and graphics in our collection. These can be discovered with a subject search for Bell, Alexander Graham. Additional information may also be found in The Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers at the Library of Congress, part of our American Memory collection.