Bell Family Papers Home >> Time Line of Alexander Graham Bell, 1870-1879

The Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers: Time Line of Alexander Graham Bell, 1870-1879

1847 | 1870 | 1880 | 1890 | 1900
1870 May 28 Older brother Melville Bell dies of tuberculosis at the age of 25.
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Photograph of the Pemberton Avenue School for the Deaf, Boston. Reproduction Number LC-G9-Z1-130,726-A. Gilbert H. Grosvenor Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.
July-August Bell, his parents, and his sister-in-law, Carrie Bell, emigrate to Canada and settle in Brantford, Ontario.
1871 April Moving to Boston, Bell begins teaching at the Boston School for Deaf Mutes.
1872 March-June Bell teaches at the Clarke School for the Deaf in Boston and at the American Asylum for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut.
April 8 Bell meets Boston attorney Gardiner Greene Hubbard, who will become one of his financial backers and his father-in-law.
Fall 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 Boston University appoints Bell Professor of Vocal Physiology and Elocution at its School of Oratory. Mabel Hubbard, his future wife, becomes one of his private pupils.
1874 Spring 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.
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Alexander Graham Bell's design sketch of the telephone. Sketches, undated; handwritten text top and bottom of page, 1876. Box 273, "Subject File: The Telephone--Drawing of the Telephone, Bell's Original." Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress.
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 Bell visits noted scientist Joseph Henry at the Smithsonian Institution and explains to him his idea for the telephone. Henry recognizes the significance of Bell's work and offers him encouragement.
November 25 Mabel Hubbard and Bell become engaged to be married. Letter from Bell to Mabel Hubbard Bell
1876 February 14 Bell's telephone patent application is filed at the United States Patent Office; Elisha Gray's attorney files a caveat for a telephone just a few hours later.
March 7 United States Patent No. 174,465 is officially issued for Bell's telephone.
March 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." Page from Bell's notebook
June 25 Bell demonstrates the telephone for Sir William Thomson (Baron Kelvin) and Emperor Pedro II of Brazil at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. Letter from Bell to Mabel Hubbard Bell
1877 July 9 Bell, Gardiner Greene Hubbard, Thomas Sanders, and Thomas Watson form the Bell Telephone Company.
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[Elsie May Bell as a child, bust portrait, facing front]. Reproduction Number LC-G9-Z1-155,855-A. Gilbert H. Grosvenor Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.
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 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. Newspaper article

1847 | 1870 | 1880 | 1890 | 1900
Bell Family Papers Home >> Time Line of Alexander Graham Bell, 1870-1879