Born on March 3, 1847 in Edinburgh, Bell is best known for his invention of the telephone however he was a remarkable character and brilliant inventor who came up with many inventions such as an air-cooling system, a way of desalinating sea-water and a sorting machine for punch-coded census cards. His father, Alexander Melville Bell, developed Visible Speech, a method of teaching speech to the deaf, Alexander carried on this work and taught the young Helen Keller.
Many other inventors had been working on the idea of sending human speech by wire, but Bell improved upon these developments to the conventional telegraph, the “harmonic telegraph” could send more than one message at a time over a single telegraph wire. Bell realised that it may be possible to pick up all the sounds of the human voice using an adaptation of this idea. a recognisable voice was first transmitted in 1875 and his telephone was patented on March 7, 1876.
His unique intellectual curiosity drove him in later years to experiment with aeronautics and he invented several large kites capable of carrying the weight of a human and producing a hydrofoil craft in 1919 that managed to reach the speed of 70 mph.
He died on 2 August 1922 at his home in Nova Scotia.