In the annals of history, there are names that stand out, not just for their inventions but for their profound impact on humanity. Alexander Graham Bell is undoubtedly one of those luminaries. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1847, Bell’s journey took him across the world, from the UK to Canada, and finally to the United States, where his innovations laid the groundwork for modern telecommunication.
While most know him for his groundbreaking invention of the telephone, Bell’s influence stretched far beyond. A teacher of the deaf, a prolific inventor, and an ardent supporter of communication in all its forms, he left an indelible mark on the world. And as we peel back the layers of his life, we find pearls of wisdom embedded in his speeches, writings, and conversations.
Join us as we explore the depths of Alexander Graham Bell quotes, painting a vivid portrait of a man whose legacy continues to reverberate through the corridors of time.
Table of Contents
- Alexander Graham Bell Quotes on Life
- Alexander Graham Bell Quotes on the Telephone
- Alexander Graham Bell Quotes on Opportunities
- Interesting Facts about Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell Quotes on Life
Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.
The nation that secures control of the air will ultimately control the world.
A man, as a general rule, owes very little to what he is born with – a man is what he makes of himself.
Educate the masses, elevate their standard of intelligence, and you will certainly have a successful nation.
I do not recognize the right of the public to break in the front door of a man’s private life in order to satisfy the gaze of the curious… I do not think it right to dissect living men even for the advancement of science. So far as I am concerned, I prefer a post mortem examination to vivisection without anaesthetics.
Dumbness comes from the fact that a child is born deaf and that it consequently never learns how to articulate, for it is by the medium of hearing that such instruction is acquired.
Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.
I would impress upon your minds the fact that if you want to do a man justice, you should believe what a man says himself rather than what people say he says.
My knowledge of electrical subjects was not acquired in a methodical manner but was picked up from such books as I could get hold of and from such experiments as I could make with my own hands.
From my earliest childhood, my attention was specially directed to the subject of acoustics, and specially to the subject of speech, and I was urged by my father to study everything relating to these subjects, as they would have an important bearing upon what was to be my professional work.
The most successful men in the end are those whose success is the result of steady accretion.
America is a country of inventors, and the greatest of inventors are the newspaper men.
You cannot force ideas. Successful ideas are the result of slow growth. Ideas do not reach perfection in a day, no matter how much study is put upon them.
A man’s own judgment should be the final appeal in all that relates to himself.
Don’t keep forever on the public road, going only where others have gone and following one after the other like a flock of sheep. Leave the beaten track occasionally and dive into the woods.
I have travelled around the globe. I have seen the Canadian and American Rockies, the Andes, the Alps and the Highlands of Scotland, but for simple beauty, Cape Breton outrivals them all!
God has strewn our paths with wonders and we certainly should not go through life with our eyes shut.
Observe, Remember, Compare.
I have always considered myself as an Agnostic.
Night is a quieter time to work. It aids thought.
Man is an animal which, alone among the animals, refuses to be satisfied by the fulfilment of animal desires.
Ordinary people who know nothing of phonetics or elocution have difficulties in understanding slow speech composed of perfect sounds, while they have no difficulty in comprehending an imperfect gabble if only the accent and rhythm are natural.
A person without a practical end in view becomes a crank or an idiot. Such persons fill our asylums.
The final result of our researches has widened the class of substances sensitive to light vibrations until we can propound the fact of such sensitiveness being a general property of all matter.
There are two critical points in every aerial flight – its beginning and its end.
Perseverance must have some practical end, or it does not avail the man possessing it.
Be not the first by whom the new are tried, nor yet the last to lay the old aside.
I may be given credit for having blazed the trail, but when I look at the subsequent developments I feel the credit is due to others rather than to myself.
I had made up my mind to find that for which I was searching even if it required the remainder of my life.
After innumerable failures, I finally uncovered the principle for which I was searching, and I was astounded at its simplicity.
Alexander Graham Bell Quotes on the Telephone
It is not, of course, complete yet – but some sentences were understood this afternoon… I feel that I have at last struck the solution of a great problem – and the day is coming when telegraph wires will be laid onto houses just like water or gas – and friends converse with each other without leaving home.
In this experiment, made on the 9th of October, 1876, actual conversation, backwards and forwards, upon the same line, and by the same instruments reciprocally used, was successfully carried on for the first time upon a real line of miles in length.
The day will come when the man at the telephone will be able to see the distant person to whom he is speaking.
Such a chimerical idea as telegraphing vocal sounds would indeed, to most minds, seem scarcely feasible enough to spend time in working over. I believe, however, that it is feasible and that I have got the cue to the solution of the problem.
One day every major city in America will have a telephone.
It is a neck-and-neck race between Mr. Gray and myself who shall complete our apparatus first. He has the advantage over me in being a practical electrician – but I have reason to believe that I am better acquainted with the phenomena of sound than he is – so that I have an advantage there.
First words on the first telephone – “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.”
To my delight, he came and declared that he had heard and understood what I said. I asked him to repeat the words. He answered, ‘You said, Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you’.
The great advantage [the telephone] possesses over every other form of electrical apparatus consists in the fact that it requires no skill to operate the instrument.
The telephone will be used to inform people that a telegram has been sent.
Can imagination picture what the future of this invention is to be!… We may talk by light to any visible distance without any conduction wire… In general science, discoveries will be made by the photophone that are undreamed of just now.
The period that marks the incipiency of the telephone extends from the year 1874 to 1877. It was in 1877 that the telephone really began its commercial career.
Boston is par excellence the home of the telephone, for it was here that all the apparatus was made and where the important experiments went on.
To tell you the truth, as a practical man, I did not believe it; as a theoretical man, I saw a speaking telephone and that theoretically we had the means of reproducing speech in distant places.
They came and talked successfully through the telephone; so that Japanese was the first foreign language to be spoken over the telephone.
On April 4, 1877, was opened the first telephone line, the first line specially built for telephonic purposes. It simply connected the office of Mr. Charles Williams, Jr., in Boston, with his house in Somerville.
Alexander Graham Bell Quotes on Opportunities
Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open.
What this power is I cannot say; all I know is that it exists and it becomes available only when a man is in that state of mind in which he knows exactly what he wants and is fully determined not to quit until he finds it.
When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.
Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds. I may be given credit for having blazed the trail, but when I look at the subsequent developments I feel the credit is due to others rather than to myself.
The only difference between success and failure is the ability to take action.
The achievement of one goal should be the starting point of another.
The inventor is a man who looks around upon the world and is not contented with things as they are. He wants to improve whatever he sees; he wants to benefit the world; he is haunted by an idea. The spirit of invention possesses him, seeking materialization.
We are all too much inclined, I think, to walk through life with our eyes shut. There are things all round us and right at our very feet that we have never seen, because we have never really looked.
Wherever you may find the inventor, you may give him wealth or you may take from him all that he has; and he will go on inventing. He can no more help inventing that he can help thinking or breathing.
Watson, if I can get a mechanism which will make a current of electricity vary in its intensity, as the air varies in density when a sound is passing through it, I can telegraph any sound, even the sound of speech.
It is the man who carefully advances step by step…who is bound to succeed in the greatest degree.
Grand telegraphic discovery today … Transmitted vocal sounds for the first time … With some further modification I hope we may be enabled to distinguish … the “timbre” of the sound. Should this be so, conversation viva voce by telegraph will be a fait accompli.
Of course it will be a little thing, but do not ignore it. One discovery will lead to another, and before you know it, you will have something worth thinking about to occupy your mind, and really big discoveries are the result of thought.
Another discovery which came out of my investigation was the fact that when a man gives his order to produce a definite result and stands by that order it seems to have the effect of giving him what might be termed a second sight which enables him to see right through ordinary problems.
There cannot be mental atrophy in any person who continues to observe, to remember what he observes, and to seek answers for his unceasing hows and whys about things.
Interesting Facts about Alexander Graham Bell
After you’ve enjoyed some of the finest Alexander Graham Bell quotes, it’s time to enjoy some interesting facts about him. Here we go!
- His Middle Name Was a Birthday Present – Born Alexander Bell, the inventor always wanted to have a middle name when he was a child. So, on his 11th birthday, his father allowed him to adopt a middle name, which was “Graham” in honor of Alexander Graham, who was a former student of Bell’s father.
- Facing Lawsuits Over His Patent – On February 14, 1876, Bell filed his patent application for the telephone. It was only hours before rival inventor Elisha Gray filed a caveat with the U.S. Patent Office, claiming that he was working on a similar invention. On March 7, Bell was awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone, and only three days later, Thomas Watson who was Bell’s assistant, heard Bell’s voice across a wire in their Boston laboratory in what was first successful telephone transmission. From that moment on, hundreds of legal challenges to Bell’s patent were filed. Five of them reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which favoured Bell, one of the longest patent battles that took place in America.
- He Invented a Wireless Telephone – That’s right. Alexander Bell invented a wireless telephone that was able to transmit conversations as well as sounds by beams of light. Bell proclaimed that his “photophone” (patented in 1880), was the greatest invention he has ever made, even greater than the telephone. However, the utility of the photophone was limited. Only when fiber-optic technology was developed many decades later, the transmission of sound by light was truly successful and became commercial as well.
- Decibels Are Named After Him – In the 1920s, in order to honor Bell’s contributions to acoustical science, the standard unit for the intensity of sound waves was named the “bel”. The decibel, one-tenth of a bel, is the most commonly used metric for measuring the magnitude of noise.
- Silencing North American Phones – On August 2, 1922, Alexander Graham Bell died at his summer home in Nova Scotia. He was 75 years old. Two days after his death, all telephone service in the United States and Canada was suspended for a full minute at the exact moment when Bell was lowered into his grave. No less than 60,000 telephone operators stood in silence and did not connect any new calls as 13 million telephones in America and Canada went quiet in honor of the inventor, Alexander Graham Bell.