“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Downtown in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 22, 2008
1. Alexander Graham Bell Marker
From the top floor of this building
was sent on June 3, 1880
over a beam of light to 1325 L Street,
the first wireless telephone message
in the history of the world.
The apparatus used in sending the message
was the photophone invented by
Alexander Graham Bell,
inventor of the telephone

This plaque was placed here by
Alexander Graham Bell Chapter
Telephone Pioneers of America
March 3, 1947
The Centennial of Dr. Bell's Birth

Erected 1947 by Alexander Graham Bell Chapter, Telephone Pioneers of America.
Location. 38° 54.136′ N, 77° 1.765′ W. Marker is in Downtown, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of 13th Street NW and K Street NW, on the right when traveling north on 13th Street NW. Touch for map. Located on the Franklin School Building, next to Franklin Square. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20005, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Franklin Square - "Going into the country" (here, next to this marker); The Leonard "Bud" Doggett House (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Messer Building (about 600
Franklin School Building image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 22, 2008
2. Franklin School Building
The plaque at the front of the building, to the left.
feet away); Asbury United Methodist Church (about 600 feet away); John Barry Memorial (about 700 feet away); "The First of Patriots - The Best of Men" (about 700 feet away); The Church of the Ascension and St. Agnes (about 800 feet away); Historic New York Avenue Presbyterian Church (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Downtown.
Also see . . .  "On the Production and Reproduction of Sound by Light". Presentation describing the photophone given by Dr. Bell to American Association for the Advancement of Science, in Boston, August 27, 1880 (Submitted on April 2, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
Additional comments.
1. 1947 Franklin School ceremony
“On March 3, 1947, the centenary of Alexander Graham Bell's birth, the Telephone Pioneers of America dedicated a historical marker on the side of one of the buildings, the Franklin School, which Bell and Sumner Tainter used for their first formal trial involving a considerable distance. Tainter had originally stood
Alexander Graham Bell Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, September 12, 2015
3. Alexander Graham Bell Marker
on the roof of the school building and transmitted to Bell at the window of his laboratory. The plaque, …did not acknowledge Tainter's scientific and engineering contributions...” — Wikipedia
    — Submitted September 21, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.

2. The Photophone
In December 1879, Alexander Graham Bell rented a house at 904 Fourteenth Street and a laboratory at 1325 L Street, N.W., in the Franklin School neighborhood. Here, with his assistant Charles Sumner Tainter, he conducted experiments in his laboratory on the photophone, an invention for transmission of sound by light waves. After his first success on February 19, 1880, he wrote to his father:

“I have heard articulate speech produced by sunlight! I have heard a ray of the sun laugh and cough and sing!...I have been able to hear a shadow, and I have even perceived by ear the passage of a cloud across the sun's disk. Can imagination picture what the future of this invention is to be!...We may talk by light to any visible distance without any conducting wire...In warfare the electric communications of an army could neither be cut nor tapped. On the ocean communication may be carried on...between vessels...and light-houses may be identified by the sound of their lights. In
Photophony image. Click for full size.
4. Photophony
Bell's Photophone Schema
Meyers Konversationslexikon von 1888
general science, discoveries will be made by the Photophone that are undreamed of just twinkling stars may yet be recognized by characteristic sounds, and storms and sun-spots be detected in the sun.” — National Register From for Franklin School by Tanya Edwards Beauchamp and Carolyn Pitts, 1994.
    — Submitted September 23, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.

Categories. Science & Medicine
Alexander Graham Bell image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, August 9, 2015
5. Alexander Graham Bell
This c. 1895 photo of Alexander Graham Bell by an unknown photographer hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

“Inventor Alexander Graham Bell sparked a communications revolution when he patented the telephone in 1876. But Bell considered his work with the deaf to be his true calling. Born to a deaf mother and a father renowned for his work in enunciation, Bell adapted his father's work — a visual, symbolic alphabet for use in producing spoken sounds — for use in teaching speech to the deaf. He opened a teacher training school and became a leader in the education of the deaf. Bell's teaching speech to the deaf was not viewed favorably by all; many advocates thought signing was the appropriate language for the hearing-impaired.” — National Portrait Gallery
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 2, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,694 times since then and 61 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 2, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   3, 4. submitted on September 21, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   5. submitted on October 28, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.
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