In March 1876 Alexander Graham Bell turns his patent for the telephone into a workable reality changing social and business life forever. He is 29 years old. For the next 46 years, Bell will remain possessed by “the spirit of invention” -- with truly remarkable results. Alexander Graham Bell found inspiration in Baddeck, Nova Scotia where he established his experimental base.
Alexander Graham Bell: Never Content with Things as They Are
“The inventor is a man who looks around upon the world and is not contented with things as they are. He wants to improve whatever he sees, he wants to benefit the world; he is haunted by an idea. The spirit of invention possesses him, seeking materialization.” (AGB 1891)
Alexander Graham Bell: Imagining Things as They Might Be
“The day will come when the man at the telephone will be able to see the distant person to whom he is speaking.” (AGB in 1906)
“It will not be long until a man can take dinner in New York and breakfast the next morning in Liverpool.” (AGB in 1896)
“There is no reason why we should not use the roofs of our houses to install solar apparatus to catch and store heat received from the sun.” (AGB in 1914)
“The unchecked burning of fossil fuels would have a sort of greenhouse effect…” (AGB in 1917)
Alexander Graham Bell: Experimenting and Learning
“Every experiment contains a lesson. If we don’t get the results anticipated and stop right there, it is the man that is unsuccessful, not the experiment.” (AGB)
Not Just the Telephone, But Also
- A method of speech visualization for the deaf and hard of hearing
- A “photo phone” which demonstrated wireless communications 19 years before radio and presaged fibre optic communications
- An aeroplane which completed the first heavier-than-air flight in Canada and the first 1 kilometre flight in the western hemisphere
- A high-speed watercraft that was the fastest boat in the world in 1909
- A metal detector
- Tetrahedral and space frames in aeronautical and land-based structures
- The second President of the National Geographic Society
- Multiple examples of “green” technologies and much more
Alexander Graham Bell: Citizen of the World
Widely honoured in his day in America, Canada, Britain and Europe, Alexander Graham Bell’s name is known worldwide nearly 140 years after the invention that made him famous. He is regarded and claimed as:
- One of the 100 greatest Americans
- One of the 100 greatest Britons
- One of the top 10 Scottish scientists
- One of the top 10 Canadians
AGB: Citizen of a Special Place
Alexander Graham Bell and Mabel Hubbard Bell were deeply involved in the life of the community of Baddeck and the Bell Family descendants have maintained this connection.
Alexander Graham Bell found Cape Breton Island inspirational.
More about Mabel Bell
Mabel Hubbard Bell’s contributions to the community of Baddeck, the province of Nova Scotia and to Canada spanned the years 1885 -1922. Many would say her prime accomplishment was as the first woman in the world to form and manage an aviation company, the Aerial Experiment Association, in 1907. The Association made history with the first manned, controlled, powered flight in Canada with the Silver Dart.
Mabel Hubbard Bell’s more long-term significance was to empower Canadian women and children, particularly in rural areas. She was a tireless advocate, encouraging women to educate themselves and effect changes in various areas of society, including health, home industries, women’s suffrage, children’s labour and children’s education.
Mabel Hubbard Bell’s lasting contributions include: the founding of Canada’s first and longest continuing women’s club; the first chapter of the Canadian Home and School Parent-Teacher Federation; the first Canadian Montessori School; the Baddeck Public Library; and conducting agricultural research for the Bureau of Soils in the United States as well as the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa.