Robot Messenger Displays Person-to-Person Notes In Public (Aug, 1935)

In the mid ’30s everything was a robot.

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.

58 comments
  1. Anonymous says: June 21, 20068:28 pm

    Inventions that haven’t lasted…

    This one is for samma. Here are some things that don’t belong on the inventor spot website I don’t think. Quite an amusing and interesting collection!…

  2. Anders Borg says: July 24, 20066:16 am

    What about a version for instant messaging? Two or more people would stand beside each other and write notes like crazy. Automatic chat log and user-defined emoticons too. What more could you ask for?

    Actually the system of writing publicly visible notes to specific people is still being used to some degree at conferences. For sure the scope is so much more limited, but except that a machine is not used, the communication method as such is still being used.

  3. [...] de vos amis autour d’un feu de camp sur le bord d’un lac. [ via  Pasta&Vinegar, Modern Mechanix [...]

  4. [...] los orígenes de Twitter: en el Londres de 1935, el “notificator“, un aparatito tipo máquina de vending con un rollo de papel continuo en el que la gente [...]

  5. In a New Box. » says: June 26, 20071:21 am

    [...] Modern Mechanix blogs a robotic message display for person-to-person notes in public from the 1930s. Write a note, pay a small fee and the message moves up behind the window to be on display for 2 hours. I love the name, “the notificator”. [...]

  6. [...] Texto completo de la imagen. [...]

  7. Boing Boing says: July 5, 20079:43 am

    Ye olde timey robot message board …

    The Notificator, featured in the August 1935 issue of Modern Mechanix, was designed for installation in public spaces so that individuals may leave messages for each other. In a short MobHappy post, Russell Buckley briefly puts it in the context of to…

  8. [...] microblogging in the 30s: this “robotic” messenger display aims at “TO AID persons who wish to make or cancel appointments or inform friends of their [...]

  9. Twitter nacio en Agosto de 1935 says: December 15, 20071:45 pm
  10. links for 2008-01-19 says: January 18, 20084:35 pm

    [...] Modern Mechanix – 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.. the new machine is installed in public places where individuals may leave messages for friends” (tags: history twitter retro robots communication asynchronous messaging via:roome) [...]

  11. nlpnt says: January 31, 20084:57 pm

    What’s wrong with a cork board and thumbatacks, or a random wall spot and some tape?
    If you offer a pay service, it’s essential not to duplicate a free one…

  12.   Who needs Twitter? by Stormhoek says: April 15, 20085:35 am

    [...] came across this story this morning about a person-to-person messenger invented in 1935 and filed under "useless technology". In those days people who knew one [...]

  13. [...] What a difference 73 years of technology makes! Some UX improvements: Twitter is now free, location-independent, and messages can be viewed longer than two hours! via: Modern Mechanix [...]

  14. [...] Robot Messenger Displays Person-to-Person Notes In Public (Modern Mechanix, August 1935) [...]

  15. mike says: December 7, 20083:07 am

    Two hours and three minutes and My mother married the wrong man.

  16. [...] Larger Image: Modern Mechanix [...]

  17. Dread Pirate Roberts says: May 3, 20097:49 pm

    Charlie – this page (credited to your blogsite) was featured in the “Insight” section of today’s Toronto Star. They referred to it as “The Original Twitter.”

  18. Charlie says: May 3, 200911:31 pm

    DPR: Cool, thanks for letting me know!

  19. The Original Twitter says: May 15, 20098:21 am

    [...] OK, I don’t really have a stack of 1930’s magazines – I spotted it on this blog. [...]

  20. Twitter’s 1935 Version « techTalks says: May 17, 20099:49 am

    [...] Source: Modern Mechanix [...]

  21. [...] Het tijdschrift ‘Modern Mechanix‘ heeft hierover een bericht geplaatst in de editie van augustus 1935. Hieronder het originele artikel: [...]

  22. [...] Visto en el blog de Modern Mechanix. [...]

  23. Twitter in 1935 | dv8-designs says: June 22, 20098:41 pm

    [...] Twitter in 1935 (Via Maikelnai’s Blog) [...]

  24. Twitter in 1935 | Design Website says: June 22, 20099:12 pm

    [...] Twitter in 1935 (Via Maikelnai’s Blog) [...]

  25. Twitter in 1935 | Design Website Easy says: June 22, 20099:20 pm

    [...] Twitter in 1935 (Via Maikelnai’s Blog) [...]

  26. Twitter in 1935 says: June 22, 200910:01 pm

    [...] Twitter in 1935 (Via Maikelnai’s Blog) [...]

  27. Twitter en 1935 | Medel's ramblings says: June 23, 20092:46 am

    [...] Modern Mechanix tweetmeme_url = ‘http://ramblings.luismedel.com/2009/06/twitter-en-1935/’;tweetmeme_source = [...]

  28. [...] BoingBoing points out a great story from the archives of Modern Mechanix magazine, a description of a device known as the Notificator: 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.   LINK [...]

  29. The notificator. < the tweney review says: June 23, 20098:06 pm

    [...] Robot messenger displays person-to-person notes in public. Post a comment | Trackback URI [...]

  30. [...] make the pithy comparison and add this 1950’s update to your history of Twitter (see also: Robot Messenger Displays Person-to-Person Notes In Public, Aug, 1935), when what do you suppose [...]

  31. Typeboard says: July 1, 200911:52 am

    [...] From the August 1935 edition of Modern Mechanix: [...]

  32. [...] is Twitter het laatste nieuwe op internetgebied? In de jaren ‘30 was er al een “Notificator”, een robotachtige machine waar je een bericht op een papierrol kunt achterlaten. Dit bericht blijft [...]

  33. JT says: September 21, 20098:02 pm

    Maybe the invention was real, but I’m dubious about this news article. In 1935, hot type — individually cast lead letterforms arranged by hand in typesetting carriages — did not yield such wonderfully uniform text as displayed in this sample. The baseline (the imaginary line upon which the bottom of each letter rests) is perfectly straight. The kerning (the spacing between the letters) is absolutely uniform. The inking betrays not a hint of variation. Such typographic perfection was nigh impossible with hot type.

  34. Firebrand38 says: September 21, 20098:48 pm

    Hear that Charlie? Now you’re forging articles!

  35. Toronto says: September 21, 20099:27 pm

    Who said Modern Mechanix was typeset that way?

    Most magazines of that era were Linotype, I’d bet, like newspapers. Monotype hot type was mainly used for books.

    I don’t notice any full kerning in the article, by the way. Just the classic “fi” and “ff” double characters that were common with Linotype.

  36. Firebrand38 says: September 21, 200910:58 pm

    That’s just a fine how do you do from JT. Charlie takes the time to scan his collection in and if we don’t get some Lt Columbo suspecting Photoshop in the 1930′s we get Colonel Mustard here saying that this article was typed recently. Gee whiz, Sherlock! I hope you aren’t trying to make a living as an investigative reporter because you suck at it.

  37. Randy says: September 23, 20091:16 pm

    No, Toronto and Firebrand38, I think that JT is onto something. I suggest that he should ask Konrad Kujau about the article.

  38. Randy says: September 23, 20091:44 pm

    And you can tell it really wasn’t a robot because it was named “The Notificator” and not “R. Notificator”. Now, R. Sammy, he was a *real* robot messenger.

  39. R.Toronto says: September 23, 20097:16 pm

    That’s why there were so few robot pirates.
    R. Blackbeard?
    Arr.
    Everyone got confused.

  40. Charlie says: September 23, 200910:19 pm

    No guys, he’s right. I’ve been faking the articles all this time. Wasn’t it obvious from my Picard homage?

  41. R.Andy says: September 24, 20093:07 am

    OMG, it is true, Charlie! You photoshopped a screenshot from The Big Goodbye I can tell by some of the pixels and from having seen quite a number of shops in my day.

  42. JMyint says: September 24, 200910:56 am

    Rotary presses and phototypesetting had replace most of the hot type presses for large volume print jobs by the 1930′s.

    I swear kids today. They have no clue as to what was possible or common place prior to the date of their own birth.

  43. Randy says: September 24, 200911:49 am

    I worked for a printing company while in college in the late 1970′s. They were (and are) a major printer of law journals and also did the state’s lawbooks. Although they had an early computerized phototypesetter for making webpress plates, they still used a Linotype machine (in its own room–it was very noisy) for certain jobs.

  44. “Twitter” in 1935 says: March 21, 20104:53 pm

    [...] full post on Hacker News If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it! Tagged with: 1935 • [...]

  45. Happy Birthday, Twitter! | Spreeblick says: March 22, 201012:09 am

    [...] vor vier Jahren sendete Twitter-Mitgründer Jack Dorsey den ersten Tweet – behaupten einige. Andere hingegen haben herausgefunden, dass es Twitter – oder eine Art davon – schon 1935 gab (Klick [...]

  46. Twitter en 1935 says: March 22, 20103:23 am

    [...] Hacker news, vía Modern Mechanix Etiquetas: curiosidades, tecnología, twitter [...]

  47. Twitter uit 1935 | Computertaal says: March 25, 20102:01 am

    [...] geen Twitter, zeg je? Misschien heb je wel gelijk, al doet deze post ons toch iets anders geloven: Twitter in 1935. AKPC_IDS += "8984,"; Stem of voeg toe aan [...]

  48. Twitter en 1935 | TengoTecno.com says: March 28, 20103:52 pm

    [...] Vía Hacker news, vía Modern Mechanix [...]

  49. links for 2010-06-15 | Joanna Geary says: June 15, 20102:01 pm

    [...] Robot Messenger Displays Person-to-Person Notes In Public "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." (tags: twitter technology) [...]

  50. Twitter in 1935 | Marijn says: November 21, 20108:18 am

    [...] source Dit bericht is geplaatst in Uncategorized. Bookmark de permalink. ← Zondag LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  51. [...] “Robot Mes­sen­ger Dis­plays Person-to-Person Notes in Pub­lic” led me to a 1935 Mod­ern Mechanix issue (with the fab­u­lous logo, “YESTERDAY’s Tomor­row TODAY”), some Russ­ian blogs and, [...]

  52. Jacob Black says: February 5, 20114:58 pm

    This is supposed to be “High Technology” at that time in London, England. It is interesting when you look at today, and people from year 2050 might feel the same thing about us today.

  53. Ohmz says: August 29, 20111:52 am

    Maybe the invention was real, but I’m dubious about this news article. In 1935, hot type — individually cast lead letterforms arranged by hand in typesetting carriages — did not yield such wonderfully uniform text as displayed in this sample.

  54. The Original Twitter says: February 13, 20128:28 am

    [...] OK, I don’t really have a stack of 1930′s magazines – I spotted it on this blog. [...]

  55. Twitter in 1930? » Bayernking says: March 18, 20125:32 am

    [...] Twitter in 1930? Bild von dpstyles™ From: blog.modernmechanix.com… [...]

  56. [...] Bron ©Twittermania @Hermaniak Digg Diggvar dd_offset_from_content = 75; var dd_top_offset_from_content = 0; [...]

  57. Twitter im Jahr 1935 | Fakeblog says: July 23, 20128:24 am

    [...] Maschine aus dem Jahr 1935 (via Modern Mechanix) In London tauchten 1935 Geräte auf, die Nachrichten anzeigen konnten. Man lief vor die [...]

  58. Information Systems @ HPI says: September 16, 201411:29 pm

    Twitter and Blogs are so 1935!

    Being a computer scientist in the 90s/00s but not a pale coke-sucking all-night gamer evokes doubts about your passion for the subject, being a computer scientist these days and neither blogging nor twittering evokes serious doubts about whether you ha…

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