Happy Birthday Alexander Graham Bell

Today is the birthday of Alexander Graham Bell, the man famed for giving birth to a device that has become an integral and necessary part of everyday life: the telephone.

On this day in 1847, Bell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was in 1876, aged 29, that he came up with his invention that gave birth to the communications age and was the catalyst for all the devices that have emerged since or will do in the future.

Bell's aim was to come up with something that enabled speech to be transmitted electrically. It is believed that his first successful experiment with this new-fangled device came about on March 10 1876 when he gave an order to his then assistant Thomas Watson, saying: "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," Bell wrote in his scientific notebook.

Following his great brainwave, the Bell Telephone Company was formed in 1877. And, while many may instantly associate his name with the telephone, he used the financial wealth he amassed from this invention to fund work on many other areas, most notably flying.

"By the 1890s, Bell had begun experimenting with propellers and kites. His work led him to apply the concept of the tetrahedron (a solid figure with four triangular faces) to kite design as well as to create a new form of architecture. In 1907, four years after the Wright Brothers first flew at Kitty Hawk, Bell formed the Aerial Experiment Association with Glenn Curtiss, William 'Casey' Baldwin, Thomas Selfridge, and J.A.D. McCurdy, four young engineers whose common goal was to create airborne vehicles," notes the Library of Congress archive holding the Bell Family papers.

"By 1909, the group had produced four powered aircraft, the best of which, the Silver Dart, made the first successful powered flight in Canada on February 23, 1909. Bell spent the last decade of his life improving hydrofoil designs, and in 1919 he and Casey Baldwin built a hydrofoil that set a world water-speed record that was not broken until 1963. Months before he died, Bell told a reporter: '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.'"


Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.