“When one door closes, another door opens” became a popular quote in the 20th century. The quote comes from the famous Alexander Graham Bell. If you want to learn more about Bell, you have come to the right place. This article will not only give a brief biography on Alexander Graham Bell, but it will also give you a few interesting facts that you might not know!
Who is Alexander Graham Bell?
Alexander Graham Bell is best known for the invention of the telephone. He first opened his eyes to see the world on March 3, 1847 in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. His father, Alexander Melville Bell, was a professor and his mother, Eliza Grace, was a homemaker. Bell had two brothers, Melville James and Charles Edward, both of whom died of tuberculosis as young adults. As a child, Bell received an adequate education, however, he became mainly interested in the field of science. Through his interest in science, Bell would grow up to become one of the most notable inventors in history.
Interesting Facts About Alexander Graham Bell
1. He Gained His Middle Name for His Birthday
Unlike his brothers, Melville James and Charles Edward, Alexander did not receive a middle name when he was born. He was just given the name “Alexander Bell.” As he became a little older, Bell wanted a nickname to differentiate himself from his father and grandfather. So, on his 11th birthday, Bell’s father allowed him to adopt the middle name “Graham” after Alexander Graham, who was living with the family and a student of his father.
2. He Immigrated to The United States
Bell was born in Scotland and attended school there and in London. In 1870, Bell immigrated to Canada with his parents. From there, he immigrated to the United States and took at a job at the Boston School for the Deaf in 1871. He became a naturalized citizen after his famous invention of the telephone.
3. He Received About 600 Lawsuits After Patenting the Telephone
On February 14, 1876, Bell filed for a patent for his telephone invention. This happened hours before inventor Elisha Gray filed a caveat with the United States Patent Office which notified them he was working on a similar invention. On March 7th of that year, Bell received his patent and a few days later, successfully made the first telephone call to his assistant, Thomas Watson. However, the start of this also became the start of hundreds of lawsuits against Bell. Five of these lawsuits ended up in the Supreme Court, who supported Bell.
4. Invented a Metal Detector with Hopes to Save a President
President James Garfield was shot on July 2, 1881. For the following weeks, Garfield struggled to live as doctors struggled to find the last bullet. In order to try to help the doctors recover the last bullet and save Garfield’s life, Bell developed a metal detector. An earlier version of this machine was used during the Civil War when trying to locate bullets in soldiers. Bell came to the house to try to find the bullet twice. However, it was never found and Garfield passed away in September of 1881. After his death, the bullet was found on the left side of Garfield. Bell was unable to find the bullet with the machine because the doctor only allowed him to scan the left side and the metal on the bed caused problems with the machine.
5. Bell’s Wife and his Mother were Hearing-impaired
Bell’s mother almost lost all her hearing as a child due to an illness. In order to hear, she had to use an ear trumpet. Bell’s wife, who he met while working at the Boston School for the Deaf, lost her hearing as a child due to an illness.
6. Bell Connected Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller
Helen Keller dedicated her biography to Bell because he brought her and her tutor, Anne Sullivan together. When Keller was six years old, her father went to see Bell in hopes that he could help his daughter, who could not hear or speak due to an illness at 19 months. Bell sent Mr. Keller to Boston’s Perkins School for the Blind. Here, Mr. Keller met Anne Sullivan, who had recently graduated, and agreed to work for the family. Through her work, Sullivan taught Helen Keller how to write, speak, and read braille.
7. North American Telephones were Silenced After Bell’s Death
Alexander Graham Bell died on August 2, 1922, in Nova Scotia. When he was lowered into his grave a couple days later, all telephones in the United States and Canada were silenced for a full minute to honor Bell. Around 600,000 telephone operators stood at attention in silence and did not connect any phone calls. Over 13 million phones went silent.
I hope that you enjoyed reading about these facts on Alexander Graham Bell. If you did, you should definitely check out historical people pages.