87. Alexander Graham Bell: Inventor of the Telephone

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Alexander Graham Bell, a Scottish-born inventor, scientist, and engineer, is one of the most famous people to ever live in the United States. He is credited with the invention of the first, practical telephone in the world, which changed the way people communicate to this day. Born on March 3, 1847, Bell was influenced greatly by his grandfather and father, who were both involved in work related to speech, and elocution. His greatest invention is the telephone, but ironically, he refused to have a phone in his work area. He felt phones were intrusive, and a nuisance.

Tragedy marked Bell's childhood as both of his brothers died from complications associated with tuberculosis. He came from a family of educators as his father was a university professor. His first invention was a simple corn de-husking machine he built for his childhood best friend. Bell also had other talents. He possessed a talent for music, and with no formal training, taught himself how to play the piano. He was also a ventriloquist, and entertained his friends with his curious talent.

Because of the booming economy in the United States, telegraph lines were being overwhelmed, and new lines had to be constructed to accommodate the traffic. The U.S. sought the help of inventors to design a line that could transmit several messages at once, which would be a marked improvement over the single transmission lines. Bell approached investors with his new idea, the telephone, and he acquired the financing needed for his work.

On March 10, 1876, Bell's invention was put to the test. The first words transmitted by phone were to his assistant. "Mr. Watson - come here - I want to see you." Watson heard Bell's words clearly in the next room, and the telephone came into existence.

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