Reluctant Genius

Everyone knows Alexander Graham Bell as the inventor of the telephone, but Charlotte Gray’s book, “Reluctant Genius” reveals much more about him.

Among the greatest American inventors, Bell is contrasted with Thomas Edison for his modesty and his insistence on perfecting his advancements before promoting them prematurely in order to gain a commercial advantage. Indeed, without the legal work of his father-in-law, Gardiner Hubbard, he would surely not have received and retained the patents that supported him and his family throughout their lives.

Bell enjoyed a remarkable love affair with his wife Mabel, a “warm-hearted, clever woman” who devoted herself to her “brilliantly intuitive” but often “demanding and insensitive” husband and allowed him the freedom to pursue his ideas.

Bell’s creative impulses continued throughout his life and he was granted a total of 31 patents—13 relating to the “electric speaking telephone” and 18 more for:

Bell said, “An inventor is a man who looks around the world and is not content with things the way they are; he wants to improve what he sees; he wants to benefit the world.”


1 Comment

Filed under People, Science, The Book I Read

One response to “Reluctant Genius

  1. This was really interesting! It reminded me of an article I read that long ago Alexander Graham Bell recorded his voice to a record that modern science can now play.

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