Alexander Graham BELL, famous for inventing the telephone, developed the first successful hydrofoil, which he called the "hydrodrome." He conceived of the "heavier than water craft" in 1906. Bell, along with his wife, Mabel Bell, and colleague Frederick W. BALDWIN, began developing it in 1908 at Baddeck, NS.
Attempts to create a hydrofoil were made in England as early as 1861. A hydrofoil sustains its motion by the lift achieved by hydrofoil-plates that function in the water as airplane wings do in the air. As speed increases, the submerged hydrofoils, supported by vertical stanchions, raise the hull out of the water, thereby reducing the friction between the water's surface and the boat's hull, allowing even greater speed. If speed is increased further, the hydrofoils come out of the water, reducing lift to the weight of the boat. Resistance to forward motion remains constant at increased speed. In conventional watercraft, increasing speed increases resistance.
Bell's first hydrofoil, the HD-1, achieved speeds of 72 km/h in 1911 and 80 km/h in 1912. The HD-2 broke up. The HD-3 was built in 1913 but a moratorium was imposed on hydrofoil development by WWI. The HD-4 set a speed record of 114 km/h in 1919, when the world's fastest steamships travelled at only 48 km/h.