To be known just for my invention of the telephone causes me a certain
degree of sorrow. If I am to be known for anything, I would rather it be my work
developing methods to teach deaf children to speak, for I have devoted much of
my life and money to this cause. Helen Keller, who is now a household name, was
one of my most gifted students.
My invention of the telephone grew out of my work with hearing and speech. I
was not an authority on electricity, nor was I adept at constructing gadgets and
gizmos (my assistant Watson saved me here) but I was an expert in the physiology
and anatomy of hearing and speech, partly as a result of my family background. A
doctor friend of my father's even supplied me with the ears of cadavers to help
me understand how hearing works. It was this knowledge of the human ear that
helped me invent the telephone.
And my life of invention didn't end with the telephone. If you visit my workshop
on Cape Breton Island you can see a few of the hundreds of other projects
that sprung from my mind. I died of diabetes in 1922, the same year that
first used insulin to save a human life