Alexander Graham Bell – Can You Hear Me Now?

By | May 3, 2019

test article image
Alexander Graham Bell, the Scotsman who invented the telephone, experimented with giant man-carrying kites during the first decade of the 20th Century. Source: (Bettmann/Contributor, Getty Image #514891992)

Everyone is familiar with the invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell, but he was more than just the inventor of the telephone. He also invented the phonograph, the metal detector, hydrofoils, man-carrying kites called tetrahedral box kites, and a special interest in working with the deaf.

Alexander Graham Bell’s father and grandfather were also in the field of elocution and sound. Bell and his two brothers developed the same interests. Unfortunately, his two brothers both became sick with tuberculosis which eventually caused both their deaths. Bell also was ill but recovered. His interest in sound and working with the deaf was greatly influenced by his own mother as she was almost totally deaf and later by his future wife.  

test article image
Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Graham Bell. Source: (

Early Beginnings

It was in 1871 where Bell first began working with deaf children, teaching them with a system his father had invented called Visible Speech. It was a set of symbols that helped the children to actually speak. He met a man named Thomas Borthwick who had a deaf child and who was interested in his “Visible Speech Machine.” Borthwick and the group of Greenock Businessmen that he was with asked Bell about helping start a school for the deaf in their area.

Bell agreed but when the first teacher that was to come over from America did not show, Bell himself began to teach the children. A year later, a teacher did come and take over the teaching. Six years later, in 1877, Bell married one of his former students, Mabel Hubbard, who had lost her hearing as a child due to disease.