Alexander Graham Bell: Inventor and Visionary by Kendall Haven

Genre: History
Subject: Biography
Setting: Scotland, USA
Main Characters: Alexander Graham Bell
Series: no
Dates Read: July 12
Number of pages: 114
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: no, Public Library
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: History class

Did you know that Alexander Graham Bell was a talented pianist? His talent was so great that he could have been a concert pianist but his father believe that it was too frivolous and insisted that he give it up. His father wanted him to do something valuable in the area of sound (his own specialty was development of Visual Sound language). But Alexander (AGB) was not academically inclined. He was a visionary.

At the age of 8,with his brother Melville, AGB invented a wheat separator for a neighboring farmer. Later at his father's suggestion, they created a talking machine that could be "programmed" to mimic the human voice.

The early years of his life he spent helping the deaf learn to speak but he yearned to put his other ideas into action. Receiving funding from his future father-in-law to create a harmonizing telegraph, AGB "accidently" developed and created the telephone. And there is where most people leave AGB - the Telephone effected everyone and still does but at the age of 29 AGB wasn't finished.

Other inventions in his life were:
audiometer to measure hearing loss
creation of the decibel rating system
fiber optic photophone was ahead of its time (80 yrs.) so it flopped
a metal detector to try to find bullet in Garfield (would have worked except for the metal springs in the bed)
vacuum jacket - forerunner of the iron lung
graphophone (dictaphone) voice recordings
automatic butter churner, water delivery system, cooling fans,
aeronautical designs from aircraft to jet engines
hydrofoil boats
flat records for phonographs

He also financially supported other inventors - Samuel Langley - steam aerodrome and Albert Michelson, Nobel prize winner for measurement of the speed of light for a few. And he wanted to spread the word of scientific progress so he helped to create the National Geographic Society and publication as well as supplying money to start the Smithsonian publication.

AGB also warned of the "greenhouse effect" and of energy shortages he foresaw in the future.

So Alexander Graham Bell was not just the telephone, he was a visionary for his time and the future.

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