Electronic Books

Angela Ruiz Robles was born in Spain in 1895. Her family was wealthy so she was able to get a college education. She studied to be a teacher, preparing women for office jobs.

Ruiz lived during the Spanish Civil War and became an advocate for female literacy. At the time, only 25% of the females in Spain had basic literacy skills. Ruiz was an innovative educator who wanted to increase accessibility to education by making learning more enjoyable and applicable. She would often teach at night to provide working women the opportunity to get an education.

Ruiz was an author of books she used in her classes. She was also an inventor. One of those inventions was called a mechanical encyclopedia. She was awarded a patent for the device.

The device allowed students to access learning content through rotational reels. The content was moved under a magnifying glass with a light so students could read in dark environments. This was especially important because most of her students lived in homes without lighting. The year was 1962 when Ruiz was 67 years of age.

When Ruiz tried to get her device produced, no Spanish companies were willing to fund the manufacturing of the device. She had an offer to license the patent to an American manufacturer but turned it down. She wanted to maintain the technology as a Spanish innovation.

Unfortunately, the mechanical reader was never produced. It was years later that electronic readers became widely available. Ruiz passed away at the age of 80 in 1975 knowing that her reader had been the inspiration for the eBook, which was created years later. Her mechanical reader is largely forgotten today.

Beginnings are often delayed due to a lack of funding from those who have the financing but lack the vision for truly breakthrough ideas.

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“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” – Oscar Wilde

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