Before Kindle & eBook There Was A Reading Machine You Don’t Know About

We know books and then we know eBooks but there was something in the middle called as ‘The Fiske Reading Machine’ that we have no idea about.

Back in the early 1920s, Rear Admiral Bradley A. Fiske inventing the reading machine that folded into the size of a fountain pen. It was the sleek little early version of Kindle back then and was built to replace the bulky and heavy books.

Bradley Fiske | Photo:

The machine used to look like an eyeglass with a handle.

“The reading matter for use with the machine is produced directly from typewritten manuscripts by photography and is so microscopic as to be undecipherable with the naked eye. The admiral has had the first volume of Mark Twain’s “Innocents Abroad,” a book of 93,000 words, prepared as an example, and it appears as a 13-page pamphlet three and three-quarters by five and three-quarters inches in size,” reads an Associated Press report of March 20, 1926.

The Fiske Reading Machine

The books were printed on a series of thin pamphlet cards and then inserted into the machine. All the reader had to do was look into the machine.

Fiske’s invention was revolutionary as it saved billions of dollars that went into printing and publishing books.

Fiske was an officer in the Navy of the United States. He had invented more than hundred and thirty mechanical and electrical devices. Two Navy warships are named after him. He was also called as ‘one of the notable naval inventors of all time’ by The New Yorker. He had also written eight books on various subjects.

Did you know about this? Share it with your booklover friends!

Heer Khant
Heer Khant

Traveller | Writer | Photographer | Maverick | Social Worker | Lawyer | A freedom-loving woman for whom words are like wings to her soul. She believes in aliens, hates boundaries and lives like the first human on Earth.

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