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Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell
(1847—1922)

Inventor of the telephone

Although the telephone was Bell’s most famous invention, his life’s work was dedicated to improving systems of communication for the deaf and for deaf mutes. He worked with machines to transmit sounds telegraphically, allowing deaf people to hear them. This led directly to the development of the telephone which he patented in February 1876, only days ahead of several rivals. The first telephone message was sent on 10 March 1876, to his assistant — ‘Mr Watson, come here; I want you,’; and it was publicly demonstrated at a fair in Philadelphia that year, when he recited Hamlet’s ‘To be or not to be’ soliloquy over the telephone to the Emperor of Brazil. His other inventions included flying machines, a universal language, a phonograph, hydrofoils, an iron lung, and a new method of sheep breeding.