Like many Canadians, Alexander Graham Bell moved to the United States to get his big break, but always longed to return to the beauty and peace of Canada. Both Alexander’s mom and wife had serious hearing impairments, a challenge that directly aided Alexander in his development of the first workable telephone. It was while Alexander served as a teacher of the hearing-impaired that he began to really understand the fundamental principles of communication and speech.
One of Bell’s most famous pupils was Helen Keller who came to him as a child unable to see, hear or speak. Helen Keller later said of Bell that he dedicated his life to the penetration of that ‘inhuman silence that separates and estranges.’ Dedicating her autobiography to Bell, she said: ‘You have always shown a father’s joy in my success and a father’s tenderness when things have not gone right.’
Like many millions of Canadians, Alexander Graham Bell was not born in Canada. Rather his family fled to Canada after the tuberculosis deaths of their two other sons in Edinburgh, Scotland. They naively believed that the pure air of Canada would save the life of Alexander who was also afflicted with tuberculosis. While Alexander did live until age 75, he was never that well and often suffered from severe headaches. But Alexander never let his problems hold him back from being creative.
Alexander had a pioneering mind and great vision. He defined an inventor as someone “who looks around upon the world and is not contented with things as they are. He wants to improve whatever he sees; he wants to benefit the world; he is haunted by an idea.” “We should not keep going forever”, said Alexander, “on the public road, going only where others have gone. We should leave the beaten track occasionally and enter the woods. Every time you do that, you will be certain to find something that you have never seen before.”
While Alexander became famous from his invention of the first workable telephone, his inventive genius reached much farther. He was the first in North America to show how x-rays could be used to treat cancers inside the body. He invented a probe that discovered where bullets were lodged inside people.
Through creative experimenting with kites, he built the first successful airplane in the British Empire. His Canadian airplane flew almost a kilometre at 64 kilometres per hour on February 23rd, 1909 at Beinn Bhreagh, Cape Breton. Alexander’s hydrofoil built in 1915 reached speeds of 70 mph (112 kph).
After the death of his son from weak lungs, Alexander invented the first respirator. To assist shipwrecked sailors, he created a machine that turned the moisture in air into drinking water. His endless inventions also included the first practical phonograph, the first flat-disk record, an iceberg-locating device, a water purifier that removed salt from seawater, an air conditioner, and an audiometer to test people’s hearing.
But it was Bell’s invention of the telephone that caused the greatest controversy. Some wrote Bell off as a mad scientist who was challenging the laws of nature. Others tried to argue that telephones were somehow of the devil and against the bible. There were widespread fears that telephones would spread disease and even insanity over the telephone wires. During an 18-year period, Bell faced and won over 600 lawsuits challenging his telephone patent.
The first business use of the telephone began in 1877. By 1888, there were over 150,000 users in North America. The cost of having a phone installed in 1888 was $10, the equivalent of a whole year’s wage for a servant. As of 2010, there are literally hundred of millions who might find it hard to imagine life without a phone.
When Bell’s body was buried in 1922 on top of a Cape Breton Island mountain, every telephone in North America observed a minute’s silence. Thomas Edison, a rival and friend, said at that time: ‘My late friend Alexander Graham Bell, whose world-famed invention annihilated time and space, and brought the human family in closer touch.’
The word ‘telephone’ means ‘sound over a long distance’. Bell brought good news to many through a physical device. May God use each of us as pioneers to bring the sound of good news throughout the world.
The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin
-previously published in the North Shore News/Deep Cove Crier
Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.
Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…
A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.
Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?
Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.
If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or kindle.
-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.
I was the Rector of St. Simon's Church North Vancouver, B.C for 31 years, from 1987 to 2018. Ordained in 1980, I have also served at St. Philip's Vancouver and St. Matthew's Abbotsford. My wife Janice and I have three sons James, Mark, and Andrew. I was Past President and Chaplain for Alpha Canada. While serving as the National Chair for Anglican Renewal Ministries of Canada, I was one of three co-signers of the Montreal Declaration of Anglican Essentials
For the past 31 years, I have been privileged to write over 500 articles as a columnist on spiritual issues for local North Vancouver newspapers. In the last number of years, I have had the opportunity to speak at conferences and retreats in Honduras, Rwanda, Uganda, Washington State, BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, and Ontario.
My book For Better, For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship, coauthored with Janice Hird, can be purchased at https://www.amazon.com/Better-Worse-Discovering-lasting-relationship/dp/0978202236/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1535555614&sr=8-1
My sequel Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit, with a foreword by Dr JI Packer, is online with Amazon.com in both paperback http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/097820221X/ref=redir_mdp_mobile and ebook form http://tiny.cc/tanhmx .
In Canada, Amazon.ca has it available in paperback http://tiny.cc/dknhmx and ebook http://tiny.cc/wmhmmx .
It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).
Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form. Nook gives a sample of the book to read online: http://tiny.cc/vj3bmx . Indigo also offers the Kobo ebook version: http://tiny.cc/kreonx . You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook: http://tiny.cc/1ukiox
The book 'Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit' focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus' healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how North Americans can embrace a holistically healthy life.
In order to obtain a signed copy in North America of the prequel book 'Battle for the Soul of Canada', Blue Sky, or God's Firestarters, please send a $25 etransfer to firstname.lastname@example.org . Cheques are also acceptable.
Pingback: Top New Year’s Blog articles for 2010 « Edhird's Blog
Pingback: 2010 in review « Edhird's Blog
Pingback: 200,000 visitors… « Edhird's Blog
Pingback: 250,000 visitors later « Edhird's Blog
October 17, 2011 at 3:10 am
good article, he also was a great inventor!
Pingback: Over 1,100 visitors yesterday « Edhird's Blog
Pingback: My top 10 online articles in the past two years « Edhird's Blog
Pingback: WordPress’ update on a year of 2010 blogging « Edhird's Blog
Pingback: Looking back on 2011: My most-widely read online articles « Edhird's Blog
December 13, 2013 at 6:07 pm
May I just say what a comfort to uncover an individual who really knows what
they are talking about online. You definitely know how
to bring an issue to light and make it important.
More and more people have to read this and understand this side
of the story. I was surprised that you are not more popular because you surely
possess the gift.
Pingback: My ten most popular blog articles for 2014 | Edhird's Blog
Pingback: My most read articles | Edhird's Blog