25 April 2009

Twitter in 1931

The Times has reported that the concept of Twittering was put into practice as early as 1931, when a London company trialled The Notificator, a vending machine that displayed short messages:

[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

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