The “Literary Machine” for Hands-Free Reading

history hustle victorian reading furniture

Have you ever been reading a book and thought, “boy is this physically exhausting”? Neither have I.

But apparently those hard-toiling stoic Victorians did. Below is an image of John Carter’s “Literary Machine”:

That’s not entirely fair, though. John Carter’s furniture and other inventions were also intended to help the disabled read, eat, and move around. “Invalid” furniture was a trend at the time, with companies rushing to patent and sell their designs.

The trend in furniture at the time was also towards making furniture more comfortable, which was sorely needed, if you’ve ever seen Victorian furniture.

And I’m not going to go into the weird ways Victorians thought to combine furniture and taxidermy. That’s for another time.

Modern Literary Machines

You can find plenty of these devices these days, as our desire to read a book without having to exert one iota of physical energy is as strong as it ever was.

For example, here’s one you can find on Amazon:

Anyway, I’d like to use my Literary Machine in combination with this vibrating bed/couch thing:

Imagine lying there reading a book about a train ride using your new Literary Machine, while your bed/couch is vibrating. It would be like some kind of immersive VR experience.

Maybe I need to buy a massage chair.

Anyway, there is a lot more to be said about Victorian furniture, and a lot more to learn out there. You should subscribe to Weekly Wonders.


History Hustle