Top 10 Greatest Things Invented by Alexander Graham BellAlexander Graham Bell is simply one of the greatest inventors who has ever lived, having invented a shocking number of extremely useful things that we use in our everyday life. However, which of the British-Canadian inventor's inventions is the best? In this list, we'll go over the Bell's greatest inventions, from the infamous Telephone, to other inventions that many people don't associate with the famous inventor. Enjoy!
Not only, undoubtedly, is the telephone Alexander Graham Bell's most famous invention, it's one of the greatest inventions of all time! As many of Bell's family members were deaf (both his mother and his spouse), he was interesting in doing sound-related experiments, and eventually got the idea of combining sound and a telegraph, making a means of communication through sound. After a lot of work, in which he continued to experiment, get financial support from people who supported his idea, and slowly improve his versions until the audio was slightly audible, Bell and his assistant, Thomas Watson, finally came up with an acoustic telegraph. Many people debate whether Bell actually came up with the telephone, and he faced many lawsuits over "stealing other people's ideas", but the fact was that he came up with it, and he has the original patent for the telephone to prove it. The telephone was invented by Bell in 1876.
One of the most interesting stories about Alexander Graham Bell is how he invented the Metal Detector. When U.S. President James A. Garfield was assassinated, they rushed to use Alexander Graham Bell's newest invention, which was a device that could detect metals in non-metal areas, to find the bullet, creating the first metal detector. Unfortunately, although the detector worked great during testing, it wasn't able to find the bullet because of other metal in the area, causing it to go haywire. Although that wasn't the greatest start to the invention, it has been extremely useful in the world, with different versions, all inspired by the original, being used to find valuable metals, locate bullets in bodies, and detect landmines, saving many lives.
I'm sure that you've at least heard of hydroplanes, which are these neat and super fast versions of motorboats with an unusual shape of the boat, causing the weight of the boat to be supported by planing forces, not by buoyancy. Bell was interested in this idea, and made a modified version of a hydroplane called a hydrofoil boat, aka the HD-4. During test runs, it went at almost 90 kilometers an hour, which is a considerable amount, and eventually, 6 years after it was made, it set the world record for speed on water, which was 114 kilometers an hour, a bit over 70 miles an hour, with the record lasting 10 years. This isn't too much in today's world, but over 100 years ago, 114 kilometers an hour was a big deal.
Broke speed records back in his day.
Something that is probably not as well known as many of his other inventions, but equally as important, is the twisted pair cable. Twisted pair cabling is a common type of wiring, where there are two conductors coming from a single circuit that are twisted together. It's quite an ingenious invention, because it strongly improves electromagnetic compatibility. It's now widely used for many things that involve wiring with two conductors, particularly telephone communications, because it's greatly improved over other options, which is why it is, though certainly not his greatest invention, one of the greatest.
Very underrated, possibly even more important than the telephone itself.
Though not even as close to as popular and groundbreaking as the telephone, the photophone was still an extremely important invention. While the telephone had to use a wire to allow people to speak with each other, the photophone, Bell (with the help of a new assistant, Charles Sumner Tainter) invented a wireless version of the telephone that could transmit sounds and conversations using beams of light. He invented the photophone in 1880, about 4 years after the invention of the telephone, and later in that year he improved it to the point where you could send messages to another person from over 700 feet away. Although it's not as well-know as the telephone, Bell himself says that it was his best invention, and that to him it was even greater than the telephone.
An old-fashioned but still relatively well-know device is the Phonograph, also known as the Gramophone, which is what people used to use to play records and music on before more modern ways of playing music were invented. While Bell didn't invent the Phonograph, as Thomas Edison did, he did invent a newer and more improved version of it in 1879, only two years after Edison created the first one, which he called the Graphophone. The most major of these improvements is the zig zag movement of the needle, which made for much more consistent and better sound than the original, which had more vertically cut grooves. Later, the Graphophone was the more widely used version, although people still called it a Phonograph.
Another device probably inspired by his deaf relatives, the audiometer was invented in 1879, as an invention that evaluates how good your hearing is. It has a main device connected to headphones, which send recorded sounds into the person's ears, all of them at different intensities and frequencies. The device then records their reactions to these sounds, before finally evaluating how good their hearing is. It's a very useful device, because many people who would have otherwise not known that they have poor hearing would after using an audiometer.
When he was only a 12-year-old, not even a teenager, Alexander created his first invention while tinkering with stuff in his family's flour mill. He came up with the Wheat Husker, a device that, obviously, husks wheat, though much faster than you would have through normal methods. It was extremely useful for his family, and his father encouraged him to continue tinkering and inventing, likely leading him to his incredibly famous later inventions. While the Wheat Husker is certainly not as exciting or revolutionary as his later items, it was an inventive and useful start for him.
Easily one of the most obscure and less known of Bell's inventions is when he greatly improved iceberg-detecting radar for ships. At the time that he made it, around 1885, the radar used in ships to detect icebergs and other obstacles in the ocean was pretty poor - accidents happened quite a bit. After bringing attention to how the radar needed to be improved, Bell improved it himself, creating new radar that was extremely useful for ships. The modern iceberg-detecting radar is way different and better than what Bell made, but Bell's inventions helped lead to what we use today.
You've probably never heard of the AEA Silver Dart, but it was a pretty big deal back when it was invented, in 1909. After forming the AEA, which is the Aerial Experiment Association, Bell worked on a few projects, none of which is more well-known than the AEA Silver Dart. Obviously, aeronautics was in the first few stages, because the first plane flight was only in 1903, so making a plane only 6 years after the first ever plane was created was quite an ambitious idea. The AEA Silver Dart combined the way that a kite works and the way that a plane works, and was actually the first plane to fly a passenger in Canada, ever. Though it wasn't used very much after a couple of years, it was still a bold and good invention by Bell.