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Mystery Machine

Started by Dave Hughes, September 25, 2017, 08:25:36 AM

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Dave Hughes

Just a bit of fun, does anyone know what this is?




I don't know the answer at the moment, but expect it to be revealed to me soon.
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Mechanic

Possibly an antique braille typing machine. You obviously select a character and then print or emboss the character by pulling up on the handle. The roller can be stepped around and the length of the line is limited by the width of the dial. Looking at the wear on the copper strip on the base, it would appear that something is being embossed rather than printed.
George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast
Queensland
AUSTRALIA

Dave Hughes

I still haven't got the answer yet.

But I've noticed that it can only produce caps or figures . . .
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John Nixon


Based on the wear showing under the imagination area, maybe an early model Dymo Label Maker.

John

Dave Hughes

Not quite, John.

I have the answer now it is:

Martin's writing machine for use by blind people, 1862

John Martin introduced this writing machine for blind people. Each letter is selected by touch and moved into line with the pointer. Once selected the plunger was pushed to make a letter-shaped hole in the paper fed by the rollers at the back. After the person finished typing, the paper was turned over and read by touch from the shapes of the holes in the paper. Machines like this one probably fell out of use with introduction of Braille in the 1820s in France. Britain and the United States did not formerly use Braille until the 1920s.

Many thanks to the UK Science Museum for the photo and description and Anton Howes (@antonhowes) on Twitter.
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