Our Digital Nomad, Andrew Evans, is in Ontario sharing his travel adventures via photography, tweets, and video (just to name a few.) His latest dispatch comes from the town of Brantford and the homestead of Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone and one of the original founders of the National Geographic Society. Read more about his latest adventure, and follow along with Andrew on Twitter and Facebook.
Alexander Graham Bell, Digital Nomad
By Andrew Evans
Had he been on Twitter, @AGBell would have only had one follower.
Historic accounts paint him as a friendly enough guy, but for all of his charms and great fame, his earliest telephones only allowed for a single, one-way conversation to take place: one person spoke and the receiver listened. That must have been tough.
To rewind the history of telephone technology is to deconstruct the din of more than a century of electronic conversation one voice at a time—all the way back to that very first voice transmitted from one place to another.
That place was Ontario.
Few realize that the world’s first long-distance phone call took place in Ontario, on August 10, 1876. Excited crowds gathered at the telegraph office in the small town of Brantford and took turns singing and reciting into a receiver, while 6 miles away, in another telegraph station in the small country town of Paris, Alexander Graham Bell listened to the sounds that had traveled in an instant over the open hills and farms of Ontario.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
For me, traveling to the Bell homestead in Brantford, Ontario was more pilgrimage than anything else—a personal field trip that reverenced the past and the very origins of the card-sized smart phone that I now carry in my hand. Long after someone has died, the places behind those people still remain. Be they poets, inventors, rock stars, or renegades, we glean some connection from dead heroes by visiting their homes, their gravesites, or merely the surroundings they once enjoyed. We seek Degas in Paris, Jesus in Jerusalem, and Tolstoy in Russia.
Thus I went looking for Aleck Bell in Canada.