Alexander Graham Bell: Making Connections by Naomi Pasachoff

By Naomi Pasachoff

Examines the character in addition to the concept techniques which led this inventor to his discoveries that have helped our realizing of the flora and fauna.

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Extra resources for Alexander Graham Bell: Making Connections

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By this time a full year had passed since Alec and Mabel had become engaged, and the once-hopeful young man was beginning to worry that he would never have enough money to support a wife. In the winter and spring of 1877, however, it became clear that many people would pay to see the telephone demonstrated, just as they might to attend an evening's theatrical performance. Somewhat to the horror of the proper Hubbards, Bell and Watson took their telephone show on the road. As Watson described the lectures, My function was to prove to the audiences that the telephone could really talk.

While at his parents' home in Canada later that summer, Bell made the first (one-way) "long distance" telephone call. The voices of singers and speakers at the Brantford, Ontario, telegraph office were sent over a telegraph wire to the Paris, Ontario, telegraph office eight miles away. Bell, listening at the Paris end, was thrilled when he recognized one of the performers as his father, who was supposed to have been out of town that day and thus unavailable to participate in the test. In October 1876 Bell and Watson participated in the first two-way long-distance call, between Boston and nearby Cambridge, about three miles away.

From the moment the previous summer when he had conceived of the membrane telephone, Bell had worried about a possible flaw in the theory. Perhaps the human voice lacked the power to generate a current strong enough to be heard at the receiver. But now he knew that there was no need to worry. According to Watson, the barely audible twang of Watson's plucked reed would not have seemed significant to most people: "Probably nothing would have come from the circumstance if any other man than Bell had been listening at that moment but he with his mind prepared by his great conception instantly recognized the supreme importance of that faint sound ...

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