Twitter in 1935


From Modern Mechanix, a Twitter-like machine from 1935, that looks like a prop from the movie Brazil.

Robot Messenger Displays Person-to-Person Notes In Public

To aid persons who wish to make or cancel appointments or inform friends of their whereabouts, a robot message carrier has been introduced in London, England.

Known as the “notificator,” the new machine is installed in streets, stores, railroad stations or other public places where individuals may leave messages for friends.

The user walks up on a small platform in front of the machine, writes a brief message on a continuous strip of paper and drops a coin in the slot. The inscription moves up behind a glass panel where it remains in public view for at least two hours so that the person for whom it is intended may have sufficient time to observe the note at the appointed place. The machine is similar in appearance to a candy-vending device.

Twitter in 1935 (Via Maikelnai's Blog)


  1. I don’t buy that this is early Twitter.

    But it is still damn cool, and it would be way, WAY cool to recreate it using modern technology and deploy it at Maker Faire.

  2. And Filthy Pierre probably thinks _he_ invented the Voodoo Message Board. Little does he know.

  3. @takuan

    Imagine multiple trees, placed at regular intervals along public streets. Perhaps they could even serve other functions, like holding telephone and power lines.

  4. Wow, the idea of placing Notificator in public places was so great.

    I always yearn for big screens on our streets with Twitter threads on them.


  5. It’s like a SYSTEM where you post your BULLETIN which are then shown on some kind of BOARD.

    But what I really want to know is: were there Extended Feline posts, stretching over multiple index cards on there?

  6. It seems to want a flip-on magnifier like the computer screens in Brazil (the tiny detail that spoke volumes about that world).

  7. Twitter is free, the notificator had a fee. Different business models. My guess is that the notificator had more substantive comments.

  8. Or a BBS.

    Ward Christensen and Randy Suess invented the BBS to make a computer “online” version of the cork bulletin board at Chicago CACHE meetings.

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