Tuesday 28 June 2016

Alexander Graham Bell

"The conception of the telephone took place at my father's residence in Brantford in 1874...the experiment of August 10, 1876 made from Brantford to Paris was the first transmission, the first clear intelligible transmission of speech over the real line, that had ever been made." 
(Alexander Graham Bell, March 13, 1916)

It's hard to believe that an idea as revolutionary as the telephone, was conceived on the banks of the Grand River just six kilometres from my house in Brantford, Ontario.  Alexander Graham Bell, after suffering from tuberculosis, had recently immigrated with his parents from Scotland to Canada.  In 1876, Bell, recently relocated to Boston, Massachusetts, spoke for the first time on his new invention, the telephone, using the famous words "Mr. Watson, come here!  I want to see you!".  Later that year, from his parents' homestead in Brantford, he placed the first telephone call over a telegraph line to nearby Paris, Ontario.  The first public showing of Bell's new invention came at the Philadelphia World's Fair in 1876.

Catalogue for the Philadelphia World's Fair 1876 courtesy 

Like any new invention, the telephone had some wrinkles to iron out, evident in the letter Alexander Graham Bell penned to his parents two years later (http://alinefromlinda.blogspot.ca/2015/09/fledgling-invention-hit-by-lightning-at.html).  After moving away to accept a job as a professor at Boston University, Bell continued to make the journey back to Brantford every summer to visit his parents.  It was during his vacation that he would work on his famous invention.

In 1913, with the approaching of the World Exposition in San Francisco, the AT & T President suggested building a transcontinental telephone system.  The system, completed six months before the Exposition, connected Bell in New York City, with his trusty assistant, Thomas Watson, in Los Angeles (http://alinefromlinda.blogspot.ca/2014/01/the-transcontinental-telephone-system.html).

At Bell's death, in 1922, thirteen million telephones had been sold.  In 1947, on the 100th anniversary of Bell's birth, Canada Post issued a stamp to commemorate the inventor.

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