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Tuesday, 27 March 2018

The World's first eReader

If you thought it was Amazon's kindle that gave the world the eReader, then you need to think again.

In 1949, Ángela Ruiz Robles, a innovative educator and writer from Galicia, came up with a way to expand her students’ knowledge and lighten their satchels at the same time. She came up with the world's first electronic reading device.

Her mechanical encyclopaedia – Spanish patent number 190,698 – was the pastel-green metal box pictured above.

It was a mechanical, electric and air-pressure driven method for reading books, and featured audio, interchangeable reels on different subjects, a magnifying glass screen and a light so it could be read in the dark. Basically, the Kindle Paperwhite of its day

Ruiz Robles’s aim was simple – to make teaching easier; to get maximum knowledge with minimum effort  – and her work went on to win prizes and acclaim.

Unfortunately the mechanical encyclopaedia failed to attract the necessary funding and today her prototype is on show at the national museum of science and technology in the Galician city of La Coruña.

 Ruiz Robles passed away in 1975 but her work has gradually gained posthumous recognition.

Recently Madrid city council approved the naming of a street in the Spanish capital to celebrate her contribution to education and innovation.The move is part of a wider project to recognise the overlooked, marginalised or forgotten work of many pioneering Spanish women.

Keeping alive the memory of those people who have advanced culture or science is fundamental to any society,” said Rita Maestre, a spokeswoman for the Madrid government.

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