Day 27-28 Baddeck, Nova Scotia   Leave a comment

As we left our Halifax campground we crossed over tidal area before the tidal bore came in.

Upon entering Cape Breton, we crossed over the Canso Causeway, the deepest causeway in the world at 217 feet, opened in 1955. It took 10 million tons of rock to build. It’s hard to see in my photo because the fog was heavy, but the bridge was opened for a sailboat.

Everyone got into the campground safe and sound. The following morning we had a pancake breakfast.

Then it was off to the Alexander Graham Bell Museum.

He was a remarkable person. It’s amazing the other things you learn about famous people. When we think of Alexander Graham Bell, we think of the inventor of the telephone. But he’s done so many other things with a focus on teaching deaf people to speak. He grew up in a family where speech and hearing were very important. Both his father and grandfather were well-known teachers of speech.

Bell’s lifelong commitment to helping the deaf began with his father, Alexander Melville Bell, whose greatest achievement was a new phonetic alphabet which he called “Visible Speech.” When Alexander Graham Bell tried using his father’s invention to teach the deaf to speak, he was an instant success.

Visible Speech was based on Melville Bell’s knowledge of the human organs of speech. He studied the vocal organs when making sounds and assigned to each sound a symbol that represented the corresponding position of the vocal organs, creating the phonetic alphabet.

Below is a photo of Bell with Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan. Bell first met Helen Keller when she was a little girl. She later gave Bell credit for her ability to write and speak.

Fascinated by his father’s work, young Alec Bell explored the mechanics of speech. He and his brothers constructed a “voice automation,” a crude replica of the human speech organs. They also taught a dog to speak. By the application of suitable doses of food material, the dog was taught to sit up on his hind legs and growl continuously while Alec manipulated his mouth, and stop growling when he took his hands away. The dog’s repertoire consisted of the vowels “ah” and “oo,” the dipthong “ow,” and the syllables “ma” and “ga.” They then manufactured words and sentences composed of those elements, and the dog’s final linguistic accomplishment consisted in “ow-ah-oo-gamama,” which they passed off as “How are you, grandma?” The fame of the dog spread among their father’s friends and people came from far and near to witness the performance.

In 1875, Bell’s gifted assistant Thomas Watson, accidentally plucked a transmitter reed on Bell’s apparatus. Bell, in another room, heard a sound. Watson had unexpectedly generated an electric current strong enough to activate Bell’s receiver. Bell quickly modified his apparatus which worked. Watson could hear the muffled sound of Bell’s voice. VOILA The telephone was born.

Alexander taught at a school for the deaf and ultimately married one of his students. They had 2 daughters and 10 grandchildren. Their Nova Scotia home can be seen from the museum.

Once a year on their wedding anniversary, the middle of July, their family (there are approximately 100 members now) comes together to their home to raise a toast in their honor.

What a beautiful area.

We had a social that night where Bill passed around a map of Newfoundland so that everyone could see what we were about to embark upon.


Posted July 16, 2015 by carolnbill in Travel

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