Old-School Twitter

by Joey deVilla on April 24, 2009

Here’s an article from the August 1935 issue of Modern Mechanix about a device called the “Notificator”, which sounds a lot like an old-school version of Twitter:


Here’s the text of the article:

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.

[Found via Philip Bond]

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kim Randall April 24, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Very interesting :-)

2 John Rockefeller April 24, 2009 at 7:12 pm

Wow! That looks awesome. Someone should build one using Twitter and LCD displays for airports and malls! :)

3 Tenacious B April 29, 2009 at 3:53 pm

And I’m sure the “messages” left were just as intriguing and intelligent as Twitter is today…

“Sir Stanley Baldwin is a twit LOLZ”
“Poland just got pwnd!”
“BBL8R The Green Hornet’s on!”

4 Grubin April 30, 2009 at 5:38 am

You totally pwnd the conversation.

5 neonazzer April 30, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Wow.. a great find !

6 Tiph April 30, 2009 at 3:38 pm

People were probably a bit more discretionary when it came to these public messages, seeing as everyone who would read the messages were physical being who were friends, neighbors, fellow church-members, etc., whereas now, anyone can say anything without any fear of people being like, “You’re an idiot” to their face.

Oh, the glory of anonymity.

7 Brandon May 1, 2009 at 5:07 pm

Nothing like Twitter. This thing actually has a decent revenue model.

8 Joey deVilla May 1, 2009 at 6:13 pm

Brandon: You just made the best comment in reply to this article!

9 Suwat May 5, 2009 at 12:54 pm

This is great, old-school twitter FTW! My web design studio peepz will get a kick out of this.

10 kimas May 14, 2009 at 8:11 pm

Is there any chance this may be fake?

11 Chicago Web Design April 21, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Wow, really interesting article.

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