[The Notificator is] an automatic machine with a small desk or shelf, having a glass window in the desk and a roll of paper or thin cardboard beneath. By the insertion of two pennies the window can be slid aside and a message written, which will then be turned onward, the window being closed ready for the next user. Each time a fresh message is written the shutting of the window will move a ratchet - the only mechanism embodied in the invention - and so place the column of messages one space higher.
Messages will remain in sight for some time - the machine is sufficiently tall to leave them visible through a glass panel for at least two hours, it is calculated.
The Notificator was not a success, and the company was declared bankrupt in 1937. Anyone keen to lay odds that Twitter will still be around in six years?
- Source: Times Archive Blog, 22 April 2009