Alexander Graham Bell Biography | Motivational Quotes | Best Quotations

Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell was born on 3rd march, 1847 in Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom. He was an inventor, a scientist and an engineer as well. The work of Bell’s father, grandfather and his brother was related on speech and elocution. His mother was deaf, extremely influencing Bell to research on hearing devices and further experiments on speech hearing devices. He was the first U.S. patent holder, awarded for inventing telephone in 1876.  In 1885, he founded the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT & T). In later part of life, he invented many more inventions related to hydrofoils, aeronautics and optical telecommunications.

Early Life, Early Inventions and Education Life of Alexander Graham Bell:

Alexander Graham Bell was born in Scotland. Alexander Melville Bell and Eliza Grace Symonds were the parents of Alexander Bell. Graham Bell’s father was a professor at the University of Edinburgh of speech elocution and he also wrote many books about elocution and speech. Melville James Bell and Edward Charles Bell were the brothers of Alexander Graham Bell. They died of tuberculosis. Alexander Graham Bell was named after his paternal grandfather. When he was 10 years the middle name “Graham” was added to his name. Graham Bell had his early schooling from his father at home. Bell was enrolled at the Royal High School, Edinburgh, Scotland. One day he played with his best friend Ben Herdman, whose family operated a flour mill. Bell learned dehusking wheat grains from his friend. He invented a home-made device for dehusking wheat grains at the age of 12. This was the first invention of Graham Bell. The machine was used for many years at the mill.  Bell moved to London to live with his grandfather at the age of 15. He spent many hours with his grandfather in serious pursuit of academics. Bell held position as a pupil-teacher of music, elocution at the age of 16 in Weston House Academy in Elgin, Scotland. He learnt Greek and Latin and also earned money while teaching elocution. At the age of 16, Bell and his brother tried to build a talking robot. They built a larynx with a sensible looking head. When the air blew through the larynx, the mouthpiece could speak some identifiable words. In the next few years, Bell moved to a new school for teaching elocution and improving himself.


Alexander Graham Bell continued his own research into sound and speech. At that time his health was fragile and  he returned home. Both of Graham Bell’s brothers died of tuberculosis by mid-1870s.  Bell’s parents were worried about Graham Bell whose health was poor. His father decided to move to Canada with his family. They lived in Brentford, Ontario. Graham Bell’s health began to improve.  He learnt Mohawk language and wrote in the language for the first time. He was awarded the title of Honorary Chief for his work.

Work With The Deaf:

Alexander Graham Bell taught at Sarah Fuller’s school for the deaf at Boston, Massachusetts in 1871. Graham Bell opened in Boston  the “School of Vocal Physiology and Mechanics of speech” in October 1872. He also taught the private students including Helen Keller, who was not able to see, hear or speak. Bell became a professor at the Boston University school of Vocal Physiology and Elocution. Throughout his life he taught the deaf and founded the American Association to promote teaching of speech to the deaf.

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Alexander Graham Bell


Alexander Graham Bell experimented for many inventions including the telephone. He gained funds from the fathers of two of his students. Bell explained his work in a letter to the linguistics expert Alexander Ellis. He told to Bell his work was similar to the Hermann von Helmholtz’s work, which was carried out in Germany. Bell tried to read the work of Helmholtz but he did not understand the German language. He followed the logic of diagrams in the book. He misunderstood the diagrams. Helmholtz succeeded with vowel sounds but Bell believed the sounds of speech had been converted into electricity but Helmholtz was not able to do this. During his experiments Bell got an idea of transmitting the human voice over wires. Bell gave the ideas to Watson who created the equipment. They worked on both the harmonic telegraph and a voice transmitting device through 1874 and 1875. Bell and Watson finally succeeded in 1876. Accidentally, Bell knocked the container of transmitting fluid and shouted, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want you!” Watson heard Bell voice through the wire and he received the first telephone call. One month later Graham Bell displayed telephone at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. He gained more publicity.  Dom Pedro, who was an Emperor of Brazil ordered hundred telephones for his country. On July 9, 1877 the Bell Telephone company was founded. Bell was invited to make the first transcontinental phone call in January 1915.

Alexander Graham Bell

Other Inventions:

In 1881, Alexander Graham Bell developed the early versions of a metal detector. This metal detector was capable of finding the location of bullets exactly.  This device quickly identified the bullet in the body of U.S. president James Garfield. Bell dedicated more time to exploring flight. Alexander Graham Bell started with the tetrahedral kite in 1890’s.  The Aerial Experiment Association with Glen Curtiss and several other associates was set up by Bell in 1890’s.  The group developed several flying machines. Alexander Graham Bell later worked on hydrofoils and set a world record for the speed of the boat.

Personal Life:

Alexander Graham Bell married Mabel Hubbard, the daughter of a Boston lawyer Gardiner Greene Hubbard on June 11, 1877. They had four children Elsie May Bell, Marian Hubbard Bell and two sons. Unfortunately, both the sons died in infancy.


On August 2, 1922 Graham Bell died as he developed complications of diabetes at the age of 75 in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He also suffered from pernicious anemia.

Honorary Degrees:

  • In 1880, Gallaudet College (then named National Deaf-Mute college) in Washington, D.C. (Ph.D.)
  • In 1882, University of Wurzburg in Wurzburg, Bavaria (Ph.D.)
  • In 1886, Heidelberg University in Heidelberg, Germany (M.D.)
  • In 1886, Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts (LL.D.)
  • In 1896, Illinois College, in Jacksonville, Illinois(LL.D.)
  • In 1901, Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts (LL.D.)
  • In 1902, St. Andrew’s University in St Andrews, Scotland (LL.D)
  • In 1906, University of Oxford in Oxford,  England(D.Sc.)
  • In 1906, University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland (LL.D.)
  • In 1908, Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada (LL.D.)
  • In 1913, George Washington University in Washington, D.C.(LL.D)
  • In 1913, Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire (LL.D.)

Inspirational Quotations From Alexander Graham Bell:

  • "Before anything else, preparation is the key to success."

  • "Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus."

  • "When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us."

  • "My knowledge of electrical subjects was not acquired in a methodical manner but was picked up from such books as I could get hold of and from such experiments as I could make with my own hands."

  • "A man's own judgment should be the final appeal in all that relates to himself."

  • "I have discovered that my interest in my dear pupil, Mabel, has ripened into a far deeper feeling than that of mere friendship. In fact, I know that I have learned to love her very sincerely."

  • "Such a chimerical idea as telegraphing vocal sounds would indeed, to most minds, seem scarcely feasible enough to spend time in working over. I believe, however, that it is feasible and that I have got the cue to the solution of the problem."

  • "In this experiment, made on the 9th of October, 1876, actual conversation, backwards and forwards, upon the same line, and by the same instruments reciprocally used, was successfully carried on for the first time upon a real line of miles in length."

  • "In this experiment, made on the 9th of October, 1876, actual conversation, backwards and forwards, upon the same line, and by the same instruments reciprocally used, was successfully carried on for the first time upon a real line of miles in length."

  • "I do not recognize the right of the public to break in the front door of a man's private life in order to satisfy the gaze of the curious... I do not think it right to dissect living men even for the advancement of science. So far as I am concerned, I prefer a post mortem examination to vivisection without anesthetics."

Alexander Graham Bell

  • "Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open."

  • "Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open."

  • "Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds. I may be given credit for having blazed the trail, but when I look at the subsequent developments I feel the credit is due to others rather than to myself."

  • "Educate the masses, elevate their standard of intelligence, and you will certainly have a successful nation."

  • "The most successful men in the end are those whose success is the result of steady accretion."

  • "A man, as a general rule, owes very little to what he is born with - a man is what he makes of himself."

  • "Morse conquered his electrical difficulties although he was only a painter, and I don't intend to give in either till all is completed."

  • "What this power is I cannot say; all I know is that it exists and it becomes available only when a man is in that state of mind in which he knows exactly what he wants and is fully determined not to quit until he finds it."

  • "America is a country of inventors, and the greatest of inventors are the newspaper men."

  • "Neither the Army nor the Navy is of any protection, or very little protection, against aerial raids."

  • "Dumbness comes from the fact that a child is born deaf and that it consequently never learns how to articulate, for it is by the medium of hearing that such instruction is acquired."

  • "The nation that secures control of the air will ultimately control the world."

  • "I would impress upon your minds the fact that if you want to do a man justice, you should believe what a man says himself rather than what people say he says."


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