The E-Reader of 1935

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The book reader of the future (April 1935 issue of Everyday Science and Mechanics). Via Matt Novak.

You've had a long day at work. All you want to do is go home, veg out on the couch, and watch a little ... book?

Matt Novak, curator extraordinaire for the Smithsonian, has found this gem of paleo-futurism from the pages of a 1935 issue of Everyday Science and Mechanics -- a screen-based reader that, he writes, "was to be the next logical step in the world of publishing."

That next logical step would be ... "basically a microfilm reader mounted on a large pole."

The whole thing, to our TV-and-tablet-jaded eyes, looks wonderfully quaint. (The projector! The knobs! The semi-redundant reading lamp! The smoking jacket!) But it also looks smartly predictive: After all, what speaks to our current, hazy dreams of convergence more eloquently than the ability to sit back, relax, and turn books into television?

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Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlantic. She was formerly an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab, where she wrote about innovations in the media.

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