Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) is best remembered as the inventor of the telephone, but, like his contemporary Thomas Edison, Bell had incredibly broad-ranging interests as an inventor.
Bell, who trained as an audiologist and educator of the deaf, began conducting experiments with sound in the 1860s and became increasingly interested in transmitting audio waves electrically. His mid-1870s telegraphy experiments with machinist Thomas Watson ultimately yielded the plan for the first telephone technology patent. The invention's association with the patented technology of the telegraph led to an interminable series of infringement lawsuits that Bell ultimately won. The great inventor left the fledgling telephone industry in the early 1880s, just before its explosive growth, to continue a long and varied career as a professor, scientist, and inventor.