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Modern Scrolls

We have the technology
  [vote for,

There are two parts to this invention, the first one of which is known to be old and widely known to have existed: scrolls.

So far as I know, no one publishes books in scroll format any more. Nevertheless, the ordinary paper-book publishing process could easily be adapted for producing scrolls. They already start with large rolls of paper that are processed by modern printing presses. Just change the orientation of the printing to remove the need to cut the paper into segments, and so the print can flow seamlessly along the length of the paper-roll.

Make cuts only near the beginning and the end of the book. Add appropriate scroll rods, although the first could be added near the start of the printing process, so that the scroll can be wound around that rod as fast as the printed continuous sheet exits the printer. If the last part of the book is printed first, and the first part printed last, then the rolled-up text on the scroll-rod will be fully prepared for reading by scrolling. Perhaps put the whole thing into a nice carrying case, and then sell.

The second invention is something that ought to have existed ages ago, but I never heard of such a thing, before, so....

We know that cranks and gears existed in ancient times, and therefore there should have existed a device into which one can insert the two rods of a scroll, separated by a length of unrolled scroll (perhaps 15-20 centimeters, or 6-8 inches), and by turning the crank one can scroll through the book quite efficiently. Move the crank from one scroll-rod to the other, and the book can be re-wound for the next person who wants to read it.

That's all.
---------- ------------
Well, that WAS all, until now, a few days after the original post (it is now the 15th).

The above Idea doesn't say anything about the fact that I only described printing on one side of the scroll. It has occurred to me that we could arrange printing half the book on each side, in a particular way.

Then, when the reader has finished half the book, the scroll-holding device can be turned over, and the process of scrolling through the 2nd half of the book, while reading it, becomes the same action as rewinding the first half of the book to the beginning.

The net result is that no one need to think about putting extra effort into rewinding the scroll for the next reader (and only half as much paper is needed for printing, also).

A modification to the reading-device could be appropriate, too. We could consider the basic thing to consist of a rectangle of rods. The two longer rods would be associated with the length of unscrolled paper, and these rods would also extend past the points where they connect to the other two rods.
(That ASCII sketch does not portray the whole rod at right because we need a fixed-pitch font to do it correctly.)

The scroll-rods are attached to the ends of the longer rods. (In the ASCII sketch, the long left rod can double as a hinge-pin, as described farther down.)

Now think about the rectangular space in the middle, which the unscrolled paper would cover. If the book was printed on only one side of the paper, it could be fine to be an empty space.

But if the paper is printed on both sides, we probably want to block light passing through the paper (hard to read one side when you can also see the printing on the other side), so we need an opaque rectangular plate to fill that empty space.

But when we flip the holder over to read the other side of the scroll, that plate will be in the way. It needs to be hinged on one edge, and latch-able on the other edge. Now the plate can be unlatched, rotated around the hinge-pin rod until the plate's other edge again reaches the rod to which it can be latched again, and now the plate is again blocking light, but not blocking our ability to read the 2nd half of the book.

Vernon, Oct 12 2017

Constitution on a scroll https://www.designb...seconds-03-13-2014/
And it does it in just 6 seconds. Some rolling required though [mace, Oct 12 2017]

ebay player piano scrolls only $3.99 https://www.ebay.co...s/178895/bn_2310452
[beanangel, Oct 12 2017]

Pipe Rolls https://en.m.wikipe...org/wiki/Pipe_rolls
If only they'd had a rock, they could have been on to something. [pertinax, Oct 13 2017]

The Classical Scroll Library [pocmloc, Oct 16 2017]


       We would know if it was baked by finding evidence of the ancient hieroglyphic version of 'Be kind, rewind'.   

       Perhaps there were people (slaves? scribes?) whose job is was to stand/sit in front of the reader, observing their eye movement, to allow the text to 'scroll' at the correct speed.   

       Time to research tomb paintings and whatnot... To the Stacks, Batman!
Sgt Teacup, Oct 12 2017

       Teletypes are roll fed with continuous stationery. If you're happy with 1 character per second accompanied by the sound of a truckload of spoons endlessly crashing into a vacuum cleaner factory, this is entirely bakeable.   

       The character set's limited, too. A new font means changing the printhead.
8th of 7, Oct 12 2017

       Teletypes are a thing of the past! Get a receipt printer. They work on rolls, they're cheap, they're fast, and they're convenient. I'd definitely print out a few pages of a novel onto a scroll before hopping on the bus
mace, Oct 12 2017

       // Teletypes are a thing of the past! //   

       This is true, but they are also exquisitely Steampunk.   

       Receipt printers are fine as long as they're not the thermal ones.
8th of 7, Oct 12 2017

       There used to be only one man left in the UK who could service Telex machines. I wonder if he's still going?
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 12 2017

       // Receipt printers are fine as long as they're not the thermal ones //   

       What on earth do you have against thermal receipt printers??? They're magical little things!
mace, Oct 12 2017

       Well, they require heat, for starters, something which England is entirely devoid of.
RayfordSteele, Oct 12 2017

       And the print fades ... if they're left in sunlight* they can go completely blank.   

       Then again, that could mean opportunities for recycling...   


       *as [Ray] points out, not normally a problem in the UK.
8th of 7, Oct 12 2017

       //they can go completely blank// I think they do the opposite, and go completely dark, no?
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 12 2017

       Um, as to idea 2, I may have misread but don't player piano scrolls do this [link]
beanangel, Oct 12 2017

       [beanangel], player pianos did not exist in the era when scrolls were the common format for books. Also, a player piano automatically does the scrolling of a scroll, while the gadget I described is hand-powered (and allows pausing of reading at any time). The gadget is also lots smaller than a player piano.   

       Other than those points, that was a good thing to mention. Thank you!
Vernon, Oct 12 2017

       // The gadget is also lots smaller than a player piano. //   

       ... and therefore not as musical.   

       As rotating shafts form a part of the mechanism, why not add a musical-box pin drum and comb ? Music while you read ...
8th of 7, Oct 12 2017

       I suspect this would be difficult to implement with paper - if it were thin enough to make a small roll, it might tend to tear. However, there are now plastic films that are much tougher, and might make this practicable.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 13 2017

       //Music while you read//   

       Good idea; the pipe rolls, for example, should have piped (see link).
pertinax, Oct 13 2017

       //there are now plastic films that are much tougher, and might make this practicable//   

       But then someone will suggest a bendable electronic plastic display for unlimited scrolling, and then someone will point out the extra curvyness adds nothing to the user experience, and we're back to tablets.
Voice, Oct 13 2017

       Stone tablets, presumably.
8th of 7, Oct 13 2017

       Actually, with developments in microlithography, and the right etchants, you could probably fit Tolstoy (that enormous book by Warren Peace) on an elegant hand-held slab of basalt.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 13 2017

       <still rummaging for evidence in The Stacks... er, Slabs...> <hmm, huge important parts of these ancient wall-clinging texts seem to have crumbled into gravel...> <rummagerummagerummage>
Sgt Teacup, Oct 13 2017

       If you make the paper out of rubber you can use the scroll handles (or your hands) to stretch out the images making them look funny. Or, if you wanted to you could publish a Victoria's Secret catalog this way and stretch vertically to make them taller and even more model like.
beanangel, Oct 13 2017

       Whenever I read this site, I can't help but notice a few cranks. But that's a feature, not a bug.   

       With the addition of an elastic cord or spring mechanism, one could create self-rewinding scrolls similar to curtain roller blinds. How the Ancients would marvel at our progress.
AusCan531, Oct 14 2017

       At the time of writing this Idea, I had some thoughts about the fact I was only talking about printing on one side of the scroll. But now I know something better than leaving it blank, and will add something to the main text.
Vernon, Oct 14 2017

       Why not make it a Möbius Scroll [Vernon]? Saves that extra mechanism at the cost of being somewhat bulkier to store.
AusCan531, Oct 15 2017

       You could store it inside an arbitrarily small Klein bottle.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 16 2017


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