The book reader of the future, 1935

 Wp-Content Uploads 2012 03 The-Book-Reader-Of-The-Future-April-1935-Issue-Of-Everyday-Science-And-Mechanics
Gentlemanwith relaxes with his e-book reader and laudanum kit.

From the April, 1935 issue of Everyday Science and Mechanics.

(Via The Retronaut)


  1. You know, in a century or so, our descendents will look at our tech/silly ideas and giggle too.

    1.  looks like you’re getting off to a grand start.  now.. to be truly giggle-vanced one should poke fun at the silly ideas yet to be.  (“pfff… remember when all the wireless toothbrushes crashed because of the 2038 error?”)

      1. “I bought an electric toothbrush (stick with me on this, it is vaguely relevent) a while back. It has a momentary pause as a signal that you’ve been brushing for one minute, but on first uses it signals at 30 seconds, next time 35, blah blah up to 60 seconds. Apparently it’s to get you used to using it.

        The instructions include a method of starting that sequence again, if you ever need to. And then I realised that I’d just read how to reboot my toothbrush.”
        — from 2007 (googled quote source; but I originally saw it elsewhere)

        1. the signals are to change “regions” so you total up with 2 mins. 

          mine has the VERY annoying tendency to ignore me when i tell it to turn off right when it’s trying to signal me, thus spraying toothbrush detritus all over my face and bathroom

  2. I’m more enamored with the “reading jacket of the future” with embroidered cuffs. The reading device itself is enormous – even larger than the real-life device it most closely resembles, the microfiche. When was microfiche invented? Was it not already around in 1935?

    1. It was invented in the mid-1800s and was used commercially in the 1920s, sez Wikipedia. By the mid-1930s, there seems to have been an explosion of libraries, universities, government agencies, and private companies publishing and archiving on microfilm.

      Also, this reader doesn’t seem that enormous, compared to what I remember of microfilm readers at my local library in the 1980s.  The library put their entire card catalog on microfilm, and invested in several microfilm readers at my branch. In retrospect, I’d describe them as looking like desktop PCs with massively overgrown CRT monitors. I don’t specifically recall how deep they were, but the depth in that picture doesn’t seem totally outside the realm of possibility.

      You’d sit down at a reader and search the catalog by turning a large knob at the side of the screen to scroll through the alphabetical entries until you found the one you wanted. The farther you turned the knob, the faster the microfilm would whiz by — you’d often overshoot the entry you were looking for, and have to backtrack. (I used to just like watching the words whiz by. Wheeee!)

      Of course, PCs became widely available almost immediately thereafter — with actual database and search capabilities. The microfilm card catalog was fun while it lasted, though.

  3. I just bought one of these things at Barnes & Noble. Now I’m off to The Gentleman’s Silk Barn for a lounging robe.

  4. This just reminded me of my reaction back in the late ’60s when I first saw Star Trek. Of all the gadgets, the one that struck me as the most impossible was Uhura’s wireless earpiece communicator. I distinctly remember thinking how preposterous that device was. Fast forward less than 40 years, and we have stuff that’s even better. If only we could also have transporters and warp engines, too.

  5. I’d like to see the eventual successor to steampunk, where people a hundred years from now, look back to today, and extrapolate from our current random wierdness.

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