JF Ptak Science Books Post 1635
- Cleator, P.E. The Robot Era. New York, Crowell, 1955. First American edition. Lovely copy in fine distjacket. $100
- Cohen, John. Human Robots in Myth and Society. London; Allen & Unwin, 1966. First edition. 156pp, illustrated. Fine copy in a fine dustjacket. $45
Every age, every generation has a calling to the future that once that particular future arrives looks sometimes strangely like a past that was much further away than it was. Such is the case here, in September, 1867. in the pages of London's Punch Magazine, when Mr. Punch rhapsodized on the future possibilities of the new invention, the typewriter.
"Good News for Bad Writers" announced to the readership:
"Writing Superseded.—Mr. Pratt, of Alabama, is the inventor of a typewriting machine, lately exhibited to tho London Society of Arts, which is said to print a man's thoughts twice as fast as he can write them with the present process. By a sort of piano arrangement the letters are brought in contact with carbonised paper, which is moved by tho same manipulation,"
The editor of Punch sniffed out a deeper deal in the typewriter than simple legibility:
"Every author his own printer! What a happy state of things! No more struggles to write legibly with nibless tavern-pens: no more labour in deciphering the hieroglyphs of hasty writers. Literary work will be in future merely play—on the piano. The future Locke may write his essays by a touch upon the keys."