Is ‘Hello’ the Surname of Alexander Graham Bell’s Girlfriend?


By T. V. Antony Raj

Scottish-born US inventor Alexander Graham Bell (March 3, 1847, – August 2, 1922) is credited with inventing and patenting the first telephone on March 7, 1876.

An apocryphal version claims that his first two instruments were at his and at his girlfriend, Margaret Hello’s place and the first call he made to commercially test the phones was to his girlfriend!

I came across a post on Facebook corroborating this claim with an old black and white photo of Graham Bell with a lady, that purports to explain the origin of the word “Hello.”



This story about the surname of Alexander Graham Bell’s girlfriend Margaret Hello is false and nothing more. The lady in this photo purported to be ‘Margaret Hello’ was, in fact, Mabel Gardiner Hubbard who in 1876 was engaged to him; a woman whom he married the following year and who remained his wife until he died in 1922.

The first successful telephone call from Graham Bell was to his assistant who was in the adjoining room.

According to, Graham Bell’s journal, which is now at the Library of Congress, contains the following entry for March 10, 1876:

I then shouted into M [the mouthpiece] the following sentence: “Mr. Watson, come here – I want to see you.” To my delight, he came and declared that he had heard and understood what I said. I asked him to repeat the words. He answered, “You said ‘Mr. Watson – come here – I want to see you.'” We then changed places and I listened at S [the speaker] while Mr. Watson read a few passages from a book into the mouth piece M. It was certainly the case that articulate sounds proceeded from S. The effect was loud but indistinct and muffled. Watson heard the words clearly and distinctly, and thus, the first working model of a telephone was born.



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