Timeline of Alexander Graham Bell: 1847 to 1922

1847 to 1868

Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), Scottish-born American inventor. Bell, who patented the telephone in 1876, as a young man. Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images

1847

March 3 Alexander Bell is born to Alexander Melville and Eliza Symonds Bell in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is the second of three sons; his siblings are Melville (b. 1845) and Edward (b. 1848).1858

1862

October Alexander Graham Bell arrives in London to spend a year with his grandfather, Alexander Bell.1863

August Bell begins teaching music and elocution at Weston House Academy in Elgin, Scotland, and receives instruction in Latin and Greek for a year.1864

April Alexander Melville Bell develops Visible Speech, a kind of universal alphabet that reduces all sounds made by the human voice into a series of symbols. Visible Speech ChartFall Alexander Graham Bell attends the University of Edinburgh.1865-66

1866-67

1867

May 17 Younger brother Edward Bell dies of tuberculosis at the age of 19.Summer Alexander Melville Bell publishes his definitive work on Visible Speech, Visible Speech: The Science of Universal Alphabetics.1868

May 21 Alexander Graham Bell begins teaching speech to the deaf at Susanna Hull's school for deaf children in London.
Bell attends University College in London.

1870

May 28 Older brother Melville Bell dies of tuberculosis at the age of 25.July-August Alexander Graham Bell, his parents, and his sister-in-law, Carrie Bell, emigrate to Canada and settle in Brantford, Ontario.1871

April Moving to Boston, Alexander Graham Bell begins teaching at the Boston School for Deaf Mutes.1872

March-June Alexander Graham Bell teaches at the Clarke School for the Deaf in Boston and at the American Asylum for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut.April 8 Alexander Graham Bell meets Boston attorney Gardiner Greene Hubbard, who will become one of his financial backers and his father-in-law.Fall Alexander Graham Bell opens his School of Vocal Physiology in Boston and starts experimenting with the multiple telegraph.Brochure for Bell's School of Vocal Physiology

1873

1874

Spring Alexander Graham Bell conducts acoustics experiments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He 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.Summer In Brantford, Ontario, Bell first conceives of the idea for the telephone. (Bell's original sketch of the telephone) Bell meets Thomas Watson, a young electrician who would become his assistant, at Charles Williams's electrician shop in Boston.1875

January Watson begins working with Bell more regularly.February Thomas Sanders, a wealthy leather merchant whose deaf son studied with Bell, and Gardiner Greene Hubbard enter into a formal partnership with Bell in which they provide financial backing for his inventions.March 1-2 Alexander Graham Bell visits noted scientistJoseph HenryNovember 25 Mabel Hubbard and Bell become engaged to be married.1876

February 14 Bell's telephone patent application is filed at the United States Patent Office;Elisha Gray'sMarch 7 United StatesPatent No. 174,465March 10 Intelligible human speech is heard over the telephone for the first time when Bell calls to Watson, "Mr. Watson.Come here. I want to see you."June 25 Bell demonstrates the telephone for Sir William Thomson (Baron Kelvin) and Emperor Pedro II of Brazil at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.1877

July 9 Bell, Gardiner Greene Hubbard, Thomas Sanders, and Thomas Watson form the Bell Telephone Company.July 11 Mabel Hubbard and Bell are married.August 4 Bell and his wife leave for England and remain there for a year.1878

January 14 Alexander Graham Bell demonstrates the telephone for Queen Victoria.May 8 Elsie May Bell, a daughter, is born.September 12 Patent litigation involving the Bell Telephone Company against Western Union Telegraph Company and Elisha Gray begins.1879

February-March The Bell Telephone Company merges with the New England Telephone Company to become the National Bell Telephone Company.November 10 Western Union and the National Bell Telephone Company reach a settlement.
Western Union and the National Bell Telephone Company reach a settlement.

1880

February 15 Marian (Daisy) Bell, a daughter, is born.photophoneFall The French government awards the Volta Prize for scientific achievement in electricity to Alexander Graham Bell. He uses the prize money to set up the Volta Laboratory as a permanent, self-supporting experimental laboratory devoted to invention.1881

July-August When President Garfield is shot, Bell attempts unsuccessfully to locate the bullet inside his body by using an electromagnetic device called an induction balance (metal detectorAugust 15 Death in infancy of Bell's son, Edward (b. 1881).1882

November Bell is granted American citizenship.1883

November 17 Death in infancy of Bell's son, Robert (b. 1883).1885

March 3 The American Telephone & Telegraph Company is formed to manage the expanding long-distance business of the American Bell Telephone Company.1886

Summer Bell begins buying land on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. There he eventually builds his summer home, Beinn Bhreagh.1887

February Bell meets six-year-old blind and deaf Helen Keller in Washington, D.C. He helps her family find a private teacher by recommending that her father seek help from Michael Anagnos, director of the Perkins Institution for the Blind.
Bell meets six-year-old blind and deaf Helen Keller in Washington, D.C. He helps her family find a private teacher by recommending that her father seek help from Michael Anagnos, director of the Perkins Institution for the Blind.

1890

August-September Alexander Graham Bell and his supporters form the American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf.December 27 Letter from Mark Twain to Gardiner G. Hubbard, "The Father-in-law of the Telephone

1892

October Alexander Graham Bell participates in the formal opening of long-distance telephone service between New York and Chicago.Photograph

1897

1898

1899

December 30 Acquiring the American Bell Telephone Company's business and property, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company becomes the parent company of the Bell System.
Acquiring the American Bell Telephone Company's business and property, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company becomes the parent company of the Bell System.

1900

October Elsie Bell marries Gilbert Grosvenor, the National Geographic Magazine editor.1901

Winter Bell invents the tetrahedral kite, whose shape of four triangular sides would prove to be light, strong, and rigid.1905

April Daisy Bell marries botanist David Fairchild.1907

October 1 Glenn Curtiss, Thomas Selfridge, Casey Baldwin, J.A.D. McCurdy, and Bell form the Aerial Experiment Association (AEA), which is funded by Mabel Hubbard Bell.1909

February 23 The AEA's Silver Dart makes the first flight of a heavier-than-air machine in Canada.1915

January 25 Alexander Graham Bell takes part in the formal opening of the transcontinental telephone line by talking on the telephone in New York to Watson in San Francisco. Invitation from Theodore Vail to Alexander Graham Bell1919

September 9 Bell and Casey Baldwin's HD-4, a hydrofoil craft, sets a world marine speed record.1922

August 2 Alexander Graham Bell dies and is buried at Beinn Bhreagh, Nova Scotia.
Alexander Graham Bell dies and is buried at Beinn Bhreagh, Nova Scotia.