OTD: Alexander Graham Bell born in Scotland

On today’s date in 1847, Alexander Graham Bell – the inventor of the telephone – was born in Edinburgh, Scotland.

In 1947, to mark the 100th anniversary of Bell’s birth, Canada’s Post Office Department (now Canada Post) featured the famed inventor on a four-cent commemorative stamp (Scott #274). Silas Allen engraved the portrait and Herman Schwartz designed the stamp, which was printed by the Canadian Bank Note Co.

The stamp depicts a winged figure of “Fame” crowning Bell’s effigy. The symbolic figure and the portrait of Bell are atop a representation of the Western Hemisphere – the main theatre of Bell’s activities – and his invention of the telephone is suggested with wired poles in the background.

With his incredible technological advancements, Bell is considered one of the most significant inventors of the 19th and 20th centuries. He left Scotland in 1870 before settling in Tutela Heights, a community near Brantford, Ont., where he worked on his new invention, the telephone, between 1874 and 1876.

Bell is also featured on a 10-cent stamp issued by the United States in 1940.

The first telephone was manufactured in 1875 in Boston, Mass., but Bell gave his first successful demonstration of transmitting speech one way over a telegraph wire between Brantford and nearby Paris, Ont.


In 1936, Bell was listed as No. 1 on the U.S. Patent Office’s list of great inventors.

This spurred the U.S. Postal Service to issue a commemorative stamp (Scott #893) featuring Bell as part of its “Famous Americans” series in 1940.

Bell later died in Nova Scotia in 1922.

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