ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL (1847-1922). Scientist; Inventor of the telephone; Educator. Bell's interest in transmitting speech electrically was an outgrowth of his interest in speech and in communicating with the deaf. He worked out the basic principles of the telephone in 1874, and was granted a patent for it in March 1876. The first telephone company, the Bell Telephone company, was created in July 1877. Soon after, Bell ceased to be an active participant in the telephone business, although he lived a creative life for more than 45 years thereafter. He won numerous awards, founded the Volta Laboratory, developed electric probes for surgery which were the "forerunner" of X-rays, conducted a long series of experiments with man-lifting kites, and founded the Aerial Experiment Association in 1907 to advance aviation.
TLS. 1 page. 8” x 10”. On imprinted “Dr. Graham Bell’s Laboratory” letterhead. Beinn Bhreagh, May 31, 1918. To F. B. Jewett, Chief Engineer, Western Electric Company;
“My dear Col. Jewett:
“I am much indebted to you for your note of May 24 concerning lifting magnets which might be used for the recovery of the cargo of steel rods now lying at the bottom of Baddeck Bay. I am quite inclined to agree with you that the cheapest way to get the bars would be to have a diver go down and collect them.”
“The water, however, is about 50 feet deep at the place where they are submerged and I find that the location is only approximately known. The first thing to do is to locate them accurately and this we are attempting to do by trailing a copper wire along the bottom, connected with a telephone on board the tow boat, under the idea that the telephone will audibly announce contact with the steel rods. Experiments here show that the plan is feasible.”
“Thanking you for your interest in the matter. I am, Yours sincerely”. Boldly Signed at the conclusion, Alexander Graham Bell.
An interesting letter in which Bell is opting to use his telephonic invention for salvage rather than sending a diver down to a depth of 50 feet in search of his lost cargo of steel rods. File punch holes at left.