Alexander Graham Bell (March 3, 1847 – August 2, 1922) was an eminent scientist, inventor, engineer and innovator who is credited with inventing 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 in Bell being awarded the first US patent for the telephone in 1876. In retrospect, 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. In 1888, Bell became one of the founding members of the National Geographic Society. He has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history.
This article covers the early years from 1844 to 1898, from conception of the idea of an electric voice-transmission device, to failed attempts to use "make-and-break" current, to successful experiments with electromagnetic telephones by Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Watson, and finally to commercially successful telephones in the late 19th century