Alexander Graham Bell was born in 1847
in Edinburgh, Scotland. His father was an expert in phonetics, the study of the
sounds of languages. As a boy, Alexander became interested in sounds and
In 1870 the Bells decided to emigrate
to America. They lived in Boston, where Alexander taught in a school for the
deaf. There he began experimenting with a machine to help the deaf hear.
While experimenting with this machine,
Bell had an idea. Why not use electricity to send the human voice from one
place to another? Bell began work on a new invention.
For years Bell and his assistant,
Thomas Watson, worked day and night. They rented rooms in a boardinghouse. Bell
was on one floor, and Watson was on another. They tried to send speech through
a wire. Finally, on March 19, 1876, Watson heard these words very clearly:
"Mr. Watson, come here. I want you." Watson rushed upstairs, ran into
Bell's room, and shouted, "I heard you!"
That year was the centennial, or 100th
birthday, of the United States. There was a large fair in Philadelphia, called
the Centennial Exposition. One of the main attractions at the exposition was
Bell's "talking machine." Thousands of visitors, including Don Pedro,
the emperor of Brazil, were surprised when they saw and heard this invention.
But they still thought it was just an interesting toy. They didn't know that
one day this talking machine would become the telephone and would change