AT&T Tech Channel

About this video

This film consists of various footage of Alexander Graham Bell from his final years(Bell passed away in 1922 at the age of 75). Here, he attends the unveiling of the Bell Telephone Memorial in Brantford, Ontario (1917); pays a visit to the National Geographic Society; and, most interestingly, shows off his speedboat and goes down to an experimental underwater chamber. Baddeck, in Nova Scotia, Canada, was Bell's beloved home, where he engaged in his pet projects.

This film shows another side to Bell's sense of invention, his fascination with hydrofoils and speed records for boating. In 1919, the HD4 boat that he and his partner Casey Baldwin built - their fourth - set the world record for fastest watercraft, registering 70.86 mph. It was nine more years until that record was broken.

Though Bell loved the fast boats, he never rode in his HD4 himself. Robert V. Bruce, in his book Alexander Graham Bell and the Conquest of Solitude, describes a scene from this newsreel:

"A newsreel photographer got Bell to sit in the cockpit of the moored craft, but Bell insisted on having Baldwin's small son beside him to negate any false imputation of daring. Mabel (Bell's wife) was furious with herself later for not having gone down to make her husband go for a spin while he was in the boat."

Footage courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ

Release date: 05/16/2011