edison-portrait.pngThat’s the title of an article by Harry McCracken the the Technologizer about inventions that were ahead of their time. McCracken quotes from an articel in the 1911 Cosmpolitan magazine:

Even the pages of books may be made of steel, though Edison regards nickel as a better substitute for paper…”Why not?” asks Edison. “Nickel will absorb printer’s ink. A sheet of nickel one twenty-thousandth of an inch thick is cheaper, tougher, and more flexible than an ordinary sheet of book-paper. A nickel book, two inches thick, would contain 40,000 pages. Such a book would weigh only a pound. I can make a pound of nickel sheets for a dollar and a quarter.”

Here…is a prospect of real culture for the masses Forty thousand pages in a volume! A single volume the equivalent in printing space of two hundred paper-leaved books of two hundred pages each! What a library might be placed between two steel covers and sold for, perhaps, two dollars!

The modern counterpart, as McCracken points out, is the Kindle. There are 14 more inventions to read about, including a car phone from 1913, and it’s great fun. Go over there.

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