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Alexander Graham Bell 1847-1922 Alexander Graham Bell is remembered today as the inventor of the telephone but he was also an outstanding teacher of the deaf and a prolific inventor of other devices Bell was born in Edinburgh Scotland to a family of speech educators His father Melville Bell had invented Visible Speech a code of symbols for all spoken sounds that was used in teaching deaf people to speak Aleck Bell studied at Edinburgh University in 1864 and assisted his father at University College London from 1868-70 During these years he became deeply interested in the study of sound and the mechanics of speech inspired in part by the acoustic experiments of German physicist Hermann Von Helmholtz 1821-1894 which gave Bell the idea of telegraphing speech When young Bells two brothers died of tuberculosis Melville Bell took his remaining family to the healthier climate of Canada in 1870 From there Aleck Bell journeyed to Boston Massachusetts in 1871 and joined the staff of the Boston School for the Deaf The following year Bell opened his own school in Boston for training teachers of the deaf in 1873 he became a professor of vocal physiology at Boston University and he also tutored private pupils Bells interest in speech and communication led him to investigate the transmission of sound over wires In particular he experimented with development of the harmonic telegraph --a device that could send multiple messages at the same time over a single wire Bell also worked with the possibility of transmitting the human voice experimenting with vibrating membranes and an actual human ear Gardiner Hubbard 1822-1897 and Thomas Sanders fathers of two of his deaf pupils backed Bell financially in his investigations Early in 1874 Bell met Thomas A Watson 1854-1934 a young machinist at a Boston electrical shop Watson became Bells indispensable assistant bringing to Bells experiments the crucial ingredient that had been lacking--his technical
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