Alexander Graham Bell's role as a teacher for deaf individuals and the presence of his deaf wife and mother inspired him to develop his electrical speech machine, or telephone. In addition, Bell's grandfather, father and brother all shared an interest in speech and elocution.
Aside from the telephone, Bell is credited with numerous other inventions. For example, he developed the metal detector, photophone and a hydrofoil watercraft, often with the aid of other inventors, such as Enrico Forlanini and Charles Sumner Tainter. Bell also made contributions to the field of aeronautics and was a founding member of the National Geographic Society.