alexander graham bell

The next time you pick up your iPhone, stop and think about how it all got started. Long before there was Steve Jobs, there was Alexander Graham Bell and his groundbreaking invention that made the iPhone possible. 

Related: UC Trivia To Know For National Technology Day

In honor of Bell, whose 171st birthday was celebrated March 3, 2018, here are 10 things you may not have known about the inventor. 

Bell Was A Teacher

While Bell is best known for being the inventor of the telephone, he also deserves a lot of credit for helping teach the deaf. Bell worked at the Boston School for Deaf Mutes and actually made inventions to provide alternative communications technologies for people who were hard of hearing. 

The Phone Industry Paid Him Tribute

The phone industry was so grateful for Bell’s contributions when he died that all phone systems in the U.S. were silenced for one minute. This is a remarkable feat when you think about the coordination and planning it must have taken—all to pay him tribute. 

Related: Celebrating National Telephone Day

Bell Also Worked On The Phonograph

While it was Thomas Edison who invented the phonograph in 1877, it was Bell who improved and refined it. Bell and his colleagues created the Graphophone, a commercial model that used a cardboard cylinder and wax. 

He Saw The Light

Bell was tinkering with light as a means of communication long before fiber optics were a thing. Bell and a partner successfully transmitted a wireless voice message using a beam of light, with an invention called the photophone. 

Related: How Well Do You Know The Communications Industry? QUIZ

Bell Was Born In Scotland

Bell was not born in America, but rather Scotland. He became an American citizen in 1882 when he moved from Boston to Washington, D.C. 

Bell Made The First Transcontinental Call

The first transcontinental call was made by Bell in 1915, when he called Thomas Watson in San Francisco, from New York City. 

Related: UC’s Past & Present As A Disruptive Technology

He Was Also A Publisher

An avid lover of communication, Bell also took to the printed page to spread his ideas. During the early 1800s, Bell helped set up a magazine called Science where he was responsible for photographs and illustrations. 

You Can Thank Him For The Metal Detector

Bell invented many different things, one being the same device that you see people holding on the beach when combing for buried treasure. Sources indicate Bell’s machine was used to attempt to locate a bullet inside of President James Garfield. 


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