At the height of the Spiritualist Movement when creators like Huxley Auspex were inventing their other worldy creations like the Auspicmoriscope, a more mundane line of invention was being attempted by brilliant creator Professor Semper Vogel. Vogel, not content to simply teach his knowledge and try and inspire the youth of his city to push their gray matter towards more profound things, he put his talents and intellect to the task of inventing machines that would aid the afflicted in his world. His first attempts were at a clunky brand of hearing aids. Most of them proved too large and impractical for the individual use. They were little better than the old fashioned method of putting an ear horn to your head and hoping for more hearing clarity.
After much frustration and failure Professor Vogel came upon an invention that seemed to conduct itself perfectly. The rather large invention was a reading machine, a device that could be placed over a page of written words that were read and clearly reproduced aloud from a speaking apparatus at the top of the machine. The professor hoped such a machine would greatly aid the blind in finally having access to books without needing someone else to read them to them, or waiting for them to be translated into brail. The only mishaps the good professor kept encountering were that the words being read aloud often times were not the words to be found on the pages. He couldn’t quite tell if this was a simple matter of the reader not being able to translate what it was reading, or something along those lines. What troubled and vexed him was the fact that what was being spoken aloud, though not what was on the page, was still a well thought out and perfectly understandable speech. It almost sounded like the reading machine was reading its own stories in place of what it read on the pages of the book or paper its reading eye glass was moved over.
As he grew increasingly frustrated with a device that seemed to be working perfectly and yet was not, he found himself one night spilling his woes to his sister Belle over several glasses of brandy and sinful truffles. His sister suggested he leave the reading machine with her and see what she could make of it. She was just as bright as her older brother, just as capable at construction and invention, and in this case she would be a pair of fresh eyes taking an equally fresh look at the machine. Vogel agreed and left his reading machine with Belle. (more…)