Thomas Edison invented the ticker tape machine back in 1869 and for a century, this little gadget made rich people even richer by letting them know how their stocks and shares are moving. Web developer Adam Bautham from Cumbria took his turn and invented a Twitter printer based on the design of Edison’s Universal Stock Ticker.
There’s no denying that Thomas Edison was one of the greatest minds of the 19th century (except that Nikola Tesla was even greater), and as they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Adam Bautham must have liked Edison very much since he based the design of the Twittertape Machine on the one of the Universal Stock Ticker.
The Twittertape Machine made its first appearance on YouTube last year as a prototype. Since then, Adam must have improved the way this device works. On top of that, he figured out how much a Twittertape Machine should cost for its production to be viable. According to Daily Mail, it took Adam three months to build it, but judging by the amount of time that has passed since first showcasing the prototype, I’d say that he needed more than that to perfect it.
Adam used old clock parts to build his Twittertape Machine. Yes, the design is based on Edison’s gadget, but that doesn’t mean that Adam’s version lacks originality. He programmed it to check for Twitter updates every 30 seconds, and whenever one is fund, the Twittertape Machine prints it on a thin strip of paper. No ink is used in the process, as the small printer burns the text into paper.
Here is how Adam describes the invention of the Twittertape Machine: “The Twittertape is based around an old Edison ticker tape; a machine that printed stock information. I always fancied one myself and just a few years ago I was looking around for one but they were incredibly expensive and hard to find. I thought about making one that prints out Tweets. They are only 140 characters so they would fit quite well, it sounded perfect.”
The modern inventor added that “I pitched it to friends and family and they said it sounded like a daft idea, but I decided to build it anyway. I spent three months building it on the kitchen table, so my wife was probably going mad for a while. Because it was built from old clock parts it has taken on a steampunk-style appearance so I have had a lot of people into steampunk message me asking about it. It is a nice design piece that will stand on a desk and balances form and function. It is deceiving because it looks old but it is actually quite modern.”
In case the Twittertape Machine ever gets mass produced, it should cost around £150 (approximately $230), a rather steep price, if you ask me.
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