While it is widely known that Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, few people are aware of the way in which he came upon the idea. Besides being an inventor, Alexander also worked with deaf students in an effort to help them communicate more effectively. One of his favorite pupils was a fetching young lady, Mabel, who lost her hearing after a childhood bout of scarlet fever. After lessons, she and Alexander would repair to the conservatory for tea and cakes and he would often share his struggles with his latest inventions. When the concept for the telephone began to come to him, Mabel assured him in all earnestness that such a device already existed – why, she had seen one in the garden that very morning! She pulled out her sketchpad and carefully drew the apparatus you see here. You see, one would merely deliver a message into the handset, storing it in the Phonetic Teleportation device. May Bell, a tiny fairy, would then pilot it to one’s desired recipient who could then listen to it. For non-hearing individuals, such as Mabel, May Bell would deliver a small scroll with the message typed out upon it. If Mabel was expecting Alexander to erupt into laughter at her preposterous but entertaining story, she was disappointed. He was utterly taken with the elegance of the design she had sketched out and dashed off to his laboratory, nearly upending his teacup in the process. While his final invention included no fairy, it bore a striking resemblance to Mabel’s design. Because they eventually married, Mabel confined her mention of the circumstances to her personal diary. And while many assume that Ma Bell was named after Alexander, it was actually Mabel’s fairy that inspired the company name.
May Bell and her owl companion, Graham, are depicted in hand cut, hand assembled vintage images on a handpainted 5” x 7” x 3/4” stretched gallery canvas. Accented with handmade paper, Dresden trim, brass rivets, and grosgrain ribbon, it also features (gently) moveable wings. A charming piece for your office or telephone nook, May Bell and her telephonic conveyance are sure to delight.