Alexander Graham Bell Notebooks

1,875 pages of Alexander Graham Bell notebooks, scientific journals, and drawings.

On March 3, 1847, Alexander Bell was born to Alexander Melville and Eliza Symonds Bell in Edinburgh, Scotland. In April 1864, Alexander Melville Bell developed Visible Speech, a kind of universal alphabet that reduces all sounds made by the human voice into a series of symbols. In May of 1868 Alexander Graham Bell began teaching speech to the deaf at Susanna Hull's school for deaf children in London. Moving to Boston, Bell begins teaching at the Boston School for Deaf Mutes in April 1871.

In the spring of 1874, Alexander Bell conducts acoustics experiments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Bell and Clarence Blake, a Boston ear specialist, begin experimenting with the mechanics of the human ear and the phonautograph, a device that could translate sound vibrations into visible tracings. Alexander Graham Bell first conceives of the idea for the telephone that summer and makes the original sketch of the telephone. Bell that summer meets Thomas Watson, a young electrician who would become his assistant, at Charles Williams' electrician shop in Boston.

On February 14, 1876, Bell's telephone patent application is filed at the United States Patent Office; Elisha Gray's attorney files a caveat for a telephone just a few hours later. On March 7, United States Patent No. 174,465 is officially issued for Bell's telephone. On March 10, intelligible human speech is heard over the telephone for the first time.

The notebooks date from 1865, 1875 to 1879, 1891 to 1893, 1906 to 1908, and 1910. These notebooks mostly concern the telephone and aviation. Included among these experimental notebooks is Bell's entry from March 10, 1876, describing the first successful experiment with the telephone, during which he spoke through the instrument to his assistant the famous words, "Mr. Watson--Come here--I want to see you." Material includes Bell's original 1874 sketch for the telephone.
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