Alexander Graham Bell (March 3, 1847 – August 2, 1922) was a Scottish-born scientist, inventor, engineer and innovator who is credited with patenting the first practical telephone.
Bell’s father, grandfather, and brother had all been associated with work on elocution and speech, and both his mother and wife were deaf, profoundly influencing Bell’s life’s work. His research on hearing and speech further led him to experiment with hearing devices which eventually culminated inBell being awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone in 1876. Bell considered his most famous invention an intrusion on his real work as a scientist and refused to have a telephone in his study. Many other inventions marked Bell’s later life, including groundbreaking work in optical telecommunications, hydrofoils and aeronautics. Although Bell was not one of the 33 founders of the National Geographic Society, he had a strong influence on the magazine while serving as the second president from January 7, 1898, until 1903.
Bell died of complications arising from diabetes on August 2, 1922, at his private estate, Beinn Bhreagh, Nova Scotia, at age 75. Bell had also been afflicted with pernicious anemia. His last view of the land he had inhabited was by moonlight on his mountain estate at 2:00 a.m. While tending to him after his long illness, Mabel, his wife, whispered, “Don’t leave me.” By way of reply, Bell signed “no…”, lost consciousness, and died shortly after. Bell’s coffin was constructed of Beinn Bhreagh pine by his laboratory staff, lined with the same red silk fabric used in his tetrahedral kite experiments. To help celebrate his life, his wife asked guests not to wear black (the traditional funeral color) while attending his service.
Upon the conclusion of Bell’s funeral, “every phone on the continent of North America was silenced in honor of the man who had given to mankind the means for direct communication at a distance”.
Dr. Alexander Graham Bell was buried atop Beinn Bhreagh mountain, on his estate where he had resided increasingly for the last 35 years of his life, overlooking Bras d’Or Lake. He was survived by his wife Mabel, his two daughters, Elsie May and Marian, and nine of his grandchildren.