Bell

Bell

[bel]
Bell, Alexander Graham, 1847-1922, American scientist, inventor of the telephone, b. Edinburgh, Scotland, educated at the Univ. of Edinburgh and University College, London; son of Alexander Melville Bell. He worked in London with his father, whose system of visible speech he used in teaching the deaf to talk. In 1870 he went to Canada, and in 1871 he lectured, chiefly to teachers of the deaf, in Boston and other cities. During the next few years he conducted his own school of vocal physiology in Boston, lectured at Boston Univ., and worked on his inventions. His teaching methods were of lasting value in the improvement of education for the deaf.

As early as 1865, Bell conceived the idea of transmitting speech by electric waves. In 1875, while he was experimenting with a multiple harmonic telegraph, the principle of transmission and reproduction came to him. By Mar. 10, 1876, his apparatus was so far developed that the first complete sentence transmitted, "Watson, come here; I want you," was distinctly heard by his assistant. The first demonstration took place before the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Boston on May 10, 1876, and a more significant one, at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition the same year, introduced the telephone to the world. The Bell Telephone Company was organized in July, 1877. A long period of patent litigation followed in which Bell's claims were completely upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

With the 50,000 francs awarded him as the Volta Prize for his invention, he established in Washington, D.C., the Volta Laboratory, where the first successful sound recorder, the Graphophone, was produced. Bell invented the photophone, which transmitted speech by light rays; the audiometer, another invention for the deaf; the induction balance, used to locate metallic objects in the human body; and the flat and the cylindrical wax recorders for phonographs. He investigated the nature and causes of deafness and made an elaborate study of its heredity.

In 1880 the magazine Science, which became the official organ for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, was founded largely through his influence. Bell was president of the National Geographic Society from 1898 to 1903 and was made a regent of the Smithsonian Institution in 1898. After 1895 his interest was occupied largely by aviation. He invented the tetrahedral kite. The Aerial Experiment Association, founded under his patronage in 1907, brought together G. H. Curtiss, F. W. Baldwin, and others, who invented the aileron principle and developed the hydroplane.

See biographies by C. D. Mackenzie (1928, repr. 1971), A. Johnson (1985), E. S. Grosvenor and M. Wesson (1997), and T. Foster (1998).

Bell, Alexander Melville, 1819-1905, Scottish-American educator, b. Edinburgh. Bell worked out a physiological or visible alphabet, with symbols that were intended to represent every sound of the human voice. He taught elocution in Edinburgh (1843-65), lectured at the Univ. of London and in Boston, and engaged in the education of deaf-mutes in Washington, D.C. He wrote about education and the science of speech. Alexander Graham Bell was his son.
Bell, Andrew, 1753-1832, British educator, b. St. Andrews, Scotland. After seven years in Virginia as a tutor, he returned to England, was ordained a deacon, and later (1789) became superintendent of an orphan asylum in Madras (now Chennai), India. Here he developed the monitorial system, which he described in a pamphlet, Experiment in Education, published upon his return to London (1797). Joseph Lancaster, a Quaker, established a school on similar principles, which was copied by large numbers of nonconformists. Bell organized a system of monitorial schools that taught the principles of the Established Church.

See biography by R. Southey and C. C. Southey (3 vol., 1844); J. M. D. Meiklejohn, An Old Educational Reformer (1881).

Bell, Clive, 1881-1964, English critic of art and literature. He was a member of the Bloomsbury group. His works include Art (1914), Since Cézanne (1922), Landmarks in Nineteenth-Century Painting (1927), and Proust (1929). His wife, Vanessa (Stephen) Bell, 1879-1961, was a painter and the sister of Virginia Woolf.

See C. Bell's Old Friends (1956); biography of Vanessa Bell by F. Spalding (1983); R. Marler, ed., Selected Letters of Vanessa Bell (1993).

Bell, Sir Charles, 1774-1842, Scottish anatomist and surgeon. He became professor of anatomy and surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons, London, in 1824 and was professor of surgery at the Univ. of Edinburgh from 1836. He was the first to distinguish between the motor and the sensory functions of the nerves; this work was confirmed and elaborated by Magendie in 1822. Among Bell's works is The Nervous System of the Human Body (1830).

See his letters (ed. by his wife, 1870); biographies by E. Bramwell (1935) and Sir Gordon Gordon-Taylor and E. W. Walls (1958).

Bell, Daniel, 1919-, U.S. sociologist. After 20 years as a journalist, he took a degree in sociology and went on to teach at Columbia and Harvard. He has written on contemporary capitalist society and the individual's place within it.
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian, 1868-1926, British traveler, author, and government official, one of the builders of the modern state of Iraq, grad. Oxford, 1887. From 1899 on she journeyed extensively in Persia, Anatolia, and Syria and early in 1914 reached Haïl in the Arabian Desert. In World War I she placed her unmatched knowledge of Middle Eastern conditions and her fluent Arabic and Persian at the disposal of the British government and in 1915 was appointed to the intelligence service—the first woman to hold such a post. As liaison officer of the Arab Bureau in Iraq and assistant political officer, her aid was invaluable. She knew and worked with T. E. Lawrence and was largely responsible for delineating Iraq's borders and for the selection of Faisal I as the country's king. She also founded and directed the National Museum in Baghdad. Her writings include Poems from the Divan of Hafiz (1897), The Desert and the Sown (1907), Amurath to Amurath (1911), Palace and Mosque at Ukhaidar (1914), The Arab of Mesopotamia (1917), and Persian Pictures (1928; pub. anonymously as Safar Nameh, 1894).

See her Earlier Letters (ed. by E. Richmond, 1937) and Letters (new ed. 1947); biographies by J. Kamm (1956), A. Northgrave (1958), J. Wallach (1995), and G. Howell (2007).

Bell, John, 1797-1869, American statesman, b. near Nashville, Tenn. A leading member of the Nashville bar, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives (1827-41), was speaker in 1834, and for a few weeks in 1841 was Secretary of War under President William Henry Harrison. At first a Jacksonian, Bell broke with Jackson in the fight over the Bank of the United States and ultimately became the chief leader of the Whigs in Tennessee, dominating state politics for nearly two decades. As U.S. Senator (1847-59), he was the leader of the conservative Southern element that, though supporting slavery, placed the Union first. He admitted the right of Congress to prohibit slavery in the territories, supported the Compromise of 1850, objected to the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, and opposed the admission of Kansas under the Lecompton Constitution. In 1860, Bell was the presidential candidate of the moderate Constitutional Union party and won the electoral votes of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia. The lower South seceded with Lincoln's election, but Bell held Tennessee in the Union until after the firing on Fort Sumter. Bell counseled resistance to the Union invasion, but, disheartened and in ill health, he took no active part in the Civil War.

See biography by J. H. Parks (1950).

Bell, John Joy, 1871-1934, Scottish author. He wrote a number of humorous stories and plays, frequently in dialect, of life in Glasgow, but is best remembered for his story Wee Macgreegor (1902).
Bell, city (1990 pop. 34,365), Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1927. It is chiefly residential, with printing, metal fabrication, and the manufacture of industrial machinery and lighting fixtures.
bell, in music, a percussion instrument consisting of a hollow metal vessel, often cup-shaped with an outward-flaring rim, damped at one end and set into vibration by a blow from a clapper within or from a hammer without.

A portable set of bells, usually not more than 15 in number, tuned to the intervals of the major scale, is known as a chime and were first used by the ancient Chinese. A carillon is a larger stationary set with chromatic intervals and as many as 70 bells, which are played from a keyboard. Harmonies and effects of shading, not possible on a chime, are part of the art of carillon playing—an art for which there is a school in Belgium. The bells of a carillon must be tuned with more accuracy than those of a chime; the best modern craftsmen can tune the fundamental (known as the hum note), the octave (known as the strike note), the twelfth, and the fifteenth with perfect accuracy.

An interesting and unexplained illusion manifest in bells is their apparent pitch (strike note): the pitch the observer hears can often be scientifically proved to be different from any of the pitches produced by the bell. Bells have been known in all metal-using cultures and civilizations and have been used in connection with all major religions except Islam. Many legends and traditions are associated with bells, which have been used for signaling, in dancing, and as protective charms. Apparently originating in Asia, in early times bells were employed for religious purposes and were used in Christianity by the 6th cent. Early bells were blessed with holy water, in the belief that dedication to Christian service gave power to ward off lightning.

Sets of bells tuned to a musical scale and called cymbala were used in the Middle Ages for musical instruction and to accompany chant in churches. In the 13th cent., tower bells were attached to clocklike mechanisms to strike the hours. The carillon developed out of the Belgian voorslag of the 15th cent., a set of bells attached to a large tower clock that played a tune before striking the hour. In the Low Countries, where the making and playing of carillons centered, the principal cities vied over the size and complexity of their instruments. A peak in European carillon making was reached in the work of the brothers Frans (1609-67) and Pieter (1619-80) Hemony of Amsterdam. The carillonneur's art flourished until the 18th cent., declining during the French Revolution, when many carillons were melted to make armaments.

Toward the end of the 19th cent., English bellmakers rediscovered the secrets of tuning that had been used by the 17th-century Dutch and Flemish craftsmen. This, with improvements in methods of striking, in placement of the bells, and in action of the keyboard, has made 20th-century carillons the finest in existence. Active in a renaissance of carillon music was Jef Denijn (1862-1941), carillonneur of Mechlin. Since World War I many carillons have been installed in the United States; outstanding is that of the Riverside Church, New York (1930), whose 20.5-ton bourdon bell is the largest ever cast in England. The largest bell in the world was the Great Bell of Moscow; cast in 1733-35, it was broken in a fire in 1737.

See P. D. Peery, Chimes and Electric Carillons (1948); W. G. Wilson, Change Ringing (1965); S. N. Coleman, Bells (1928, repr. 1971); H. R. Jones, About Bells and Bell Ringing (1986); R. Johnston et al., An Atlas of Bells (1990).

Bell tower, either freestanding or attached to another structure. More particularly it refers to the room, usually at the top of such a tower, where the bells and their supporting timberwork are hung. The belfry is a prominent feature of Belgian Gothic architecture, especially in Flanders. The Halles (Market Hall) and belfry in Brugge (late 13th century) is a typical example. The term derives from the medieval siege tower (berfrei), a tall wooden structure that could be rolled up to a fortification wall so that the warriors hidden inside could storm the battlements.

Learn more about belfry with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Hollow vessel, usually of metal, that produces a ringing sound when struck by an interior clapper or a mallet. In the West, open bells have acquired a standard “tulip” shape. Though the vibrational patterns of such open bells are basically nonharmonic, they can be tuned so that the lower overtones produce a recognizable chord. Forged bells have existed for many thousands of years. Bells were first cast, or founded, in the Bronze Age; the Chinese were the first master founders. Bells have carried a wide range of cultural meanings. They are particularly important in religious ritual in East and South Asia. In Christianity, especially Russian Orthodoxy, bells have also been used ritually. They have tolled the hours from monastery and church steeples, originally to govern monastic routine and later also to fill a similar role for the secular world.

Learn more about bell with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born Feb. 15, 1797, near Nashville, Tenn., U.S.—died Sept. 10, 1869, Dover, Tenn.) U.S. politician. He represented Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives (1827–41) and Senate (1847–59). Although a large slaveholder, he opposed efforts to expand slavery to U.S. territories and voted against admitting Kansas as a slave state. His defense of the Union brought him the 1860 nomination for president on the Constitutional Union ticket, but he carried only three states. He later supported the South in the American Civil War.

Learn more about Bell, John with a free trial on Britannica.com.

or Ida Bell Wells-Barnett

(born July 16, 1862, Holly Springs, Miss., U.S.—died March 25, 1931, Chicago, Ill.) U.S. journalist and antilynching crusader. The daughter of slaves, she was educated at a freedmen's school in Holly Springs and later at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn. She was a teacher until the late 1880s, when she turned to journalism, writing articles for African American-owned newspapers on issues such as the limited education available to African American children. In 1892, after three of her friends were lynched by a mob, Wells began an editorial campaign against lynching that quickly led to the destruction of her newspaper's office by whites. She continued her antilynching campaign as a lecturer and founder of antilynching societies and African American women's clubs throughout the U.S. In 1895 she married Ferdinand Barnett and began writing for his newspaper, the Chicago Conservator. In 1910 she founded the Chicago Negro Fellowship League. She also founded Chicago's Alpha Suffrage Club, perhaps the first African American woman-suffrage group.

Learn more about Wells, Ida B(ell) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born July 14, 1868, Washington Hall, Durham, Eng.—died July 12, 1926, Baghdad, Iraq) British traveler, writer, and colonial administrator. After graduating from Oxford, she journeyed throughout the Middle East. After World War I she wrote a well-received report on the administration of Mesopotamia between the end of the war (1918) and the Iraqi rebellion of 1920 and later helped determine postwar boundaries. In 1921 she helped place a son of the sharif of Mecca, Fayssubdotal I, on the Iraqi throne. In helping create the National Museum of Iraq, she promoted the idea that excavated antiquities should stay in their country of origin.

Learn more about Bell, Gertrude with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born July 14, 1868, Washington Hall, Durham, Eng.—died July 12, 1926, Baghdad, Iraq) British traveler, writer, and colonial administrator. After graduating from Oxford, she journeyed throughout the Middle East. After World War I she wrote a well-received report on the administration of Mesopotamia between the end of the war (1918) and the Iraqi rebellion of 1920 and later helped determine postwar boundaries. In 1921 she helped place a son of the sharif of Mecca, Fayssubdotal I, on the Iraqi throne. In helping create the National Museum of Iraq, she promoted the idea that excavated antiquities should stay in their country of origin.

Learn more about Bell, Gertrude with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born Sept. 16, 1881, East Shefford, Berkshire, Eng.—died Sept. 17, 1964, London) British art critic. He studied at Cambridge University and in Paris. In 1907 he married Vanessa Stephen, sister of Virginia Woolf; with Virginia's husband, Leonard Woolf, and Roger Fry, they formed the core of the Bloomsbury group. Bell's most important aesthetic ideas were published in Art (1914) and Since Cézanne (1922), in which he promoted his theory of “significant form” (the quality that distinguishes works of art from all other objects). His assertion that art appreciation involves an emotional response to purely formal qualities, independent of subject matter, was influential for several decades.

Learn more about Bell, (Arthur) Clive (Heward) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born Feb. 15, 1797, near Nashville, Tenn., U.S.—died Sept. 10, 1869, Dover, Tenn.) U.S. politician. He represented Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives (1827–41) and Senate (1847–59). Although a large slaveholder, he opposed efforts to expand slavery to U.S. territories and voted against admitting Kansas as a slave state. His defense of the Union brought him the 1860 nomination for president on the Constitutional Union ticket, but he carried only three states. He later supported the South in the American Civil War.

Learn more about Bell, John with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Alexander Graham Bell.

(born March 3, 1847, Edinburgh, Scot.—died Aug. 2, 1922, Beinn Bhreagh, Nova Scotia, Can.) Scottish-born U.S. audiologist and inventor. He moved to the U.S. in 1871 to teach the visible-speech system developed by his father, Alexander Melville Bell (1819–1905). He opened his own school in Boston for training teachers of the deaf (1872) and was influential in disseminating these methods. In 1876 he became the first person to transmit intelligible words through electric wire (“Watson, come here, I want you,” spoken to his assistant Thomas Watson). He patented the telephone the same year, and in 1877 he cofounded Bell Telephone Co. With the proceeds from France's Volta Prize, he founded Volta Laboratory in Washington, D.C., in 1880. His experiments there led to the invention of the photophone (which transmitted speech by light rays), the audiometer (which measured acuteness of hearing), the Graphophone (an early practical sound recorder), and working wax recording media, both flat and cylindrical, for the Graphophone. He was chiefly responsible for founding the journal Science, founded the American Association to Promote Teaching of Speech to the Deaf (1890), and continued his significant research on deafness throughout his life.

Learn more about Bell, Alexander Graham with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Alexander Graham Bell.

(born March 3, 1847, Edinburgh, Scot.—died Aug. 2, 1922, Beinn Bhreagh, Nova Scotia, Can.) Scottish-born U.S. audiologist and inventor. He moved to the U.S. in 1871 to teach the visible-speech system developed by his father, Alexander Melville Bell (1819–1905). He opened his own school in Boston for training teachers of the deaf (1872) and was influential in disseminating these methods. In 1876 he became the first person to transmit intelligible words through electric wire (“Watson, come here, I want you,” spoken to his assistant Thomas Watson). He patented the telephone the same year, and in 1877 he cofounded Bell Telephone Co. With the proceeds from France's Volta Prize, he founded Volta Laboratory in Washington, D.C., in 1880. His experiments there led to the invention of the photophone (which transmitted speech by light rays), the audiometer (which measured acuteness of hearing), the Graphophone (an early practical sound recorder), and working wax recording media, both flat and cylindrical, for the Graphophone. He was chiefly responsible for founding the journal Science, founded the American Association to Promote Teaching of Speech to the Deaf (1890), and continued his significant research on deafness throughout his life.

Learn more about Bell, Alexander Graham with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Bell may refer to:

Devices that produce sound

  • Altar bell, a bell rung during the Catholic Mass.
  • Bell character, a character that produces an audible signal at a terminal.
  • Bell effect, a musical technique similar to an arpeggio.
  • Bell (instrument), a simple sound-making device.
  • Bell unit (bel), measure of the ratio between two quantities.
  • Bell (wind), the round, flared opening of a wind instrument opposite the mouthpiece.
  • Bell cymbal, a small cymbal. The bell is also the center, rounded part of a cymbal.
  • Bell (school), a bell that signals transitions during a school day.
  • Bell tree, instrument made of nested bells
  • Bermuda carriage bell, used in vehicles as a warning to pedestrians
  • Carillon, an instrument which utilizes bells, normally housed in a bell tower, and played from a keyboard
  • Chime (bell instrument), similar to a carillon, but with fewer bells
  • Church bell, a bell hanging in a church tower
  • Electric bell, such as a doorbell or buzzer
  • Handbell, a handheld bell, rung singly (such as a school bell) or in tuned sets played by a bell choir
  • Jingle bell, a spherical bell that produces a distinct "jingle" sound
  • Last call bell, a bell that signals the closing of a bar
  • Mark tree, a set of small hanging chimes, sometimes mislabeled as a wind chime
  • Orchestra bell, better known as Glockenspiel
  • Ship's bells, bells which mark time on a ship
  • Slave bell, used to regulate slavery
  • Tubular bell, used in tuned sets as in a longcase clock, orchestral chime, organ, or tower

Communication

The word "bell" also can mean a signal from a engine order telegraph on a ship or submarine.

Places

Australia

Biology

  • Bell Miner, colonial honeyeater endemic to southeastern Australia
  • Bell pepper, Cultivar Group of the species Capsicum annuum
  • Bellbird, several kinds of bird in various regions of the world that are noted for their far-carrying bell-like call
  • Diving bell spider, spider which lives entirely under water
  • Bell, the umbrella-shaped, non-stinging part of medusas in jellyfish
  • Bell, the corolla of a flower
  • Bell, the bellow or cry of a rutting stag or hunting dog

Mathematics

  • Bell curve, illustrates normal distribution in statistics
    • Bell curve grading, a use of the bell curve in comparing student achievement and converting percent and percentile grades to letter grades
  • Bell number, the number of partitions of a set with n members

Other

See also

External links

Search another word or see bellon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature