Now, ticker-tape machine that prints tweets

A UK web developer has given a modern makeover to the 19th Century ticker-tape machine by creating one that prints out tweets.

Last Updated: Aug 27, 2013, 22:21 PM IST

London: A UK web developer has given a modern makeover to the 19th Century ticker-tape machine by creating one that prints out tweets.

Adam Vaughan from Cumbria built the `twittertape` device from scratch using second-hand parts from clocks and other sources.

Ticker tape was used to transmit stock price information over telegraph lines from 1870 to 1970. It comprised a paper strip that ran through a machine called a stock ticker, which printed abbreviated company names as alphabetic symbols followed by numeric stock transaction price and volume information.

One of the earliest practical stock ticker machines, the Universal Stock Ticker developed by Thomas Edison in 1869, used alphanumeric characters with a printing speed of approximately one character per second.

Vaughan spent three months assembling his version of the machine but admitted a lot of that time was devoted to finding the right parts, `BBC News` reported.

"I have a keen interest in history and have always been fascinated by ticker-tape machines as a design piece," he said.

"One day I thought it would be nice to have one sat on your desk and started to think about what information it could produce. Twitter is perfect," he added.

The wooden base in Vaughan`s machine contains a thermal printer and a micro-controller. The device connects to a computer via an ethernet cable and pulls data from Vaughan`s Twitter account every 30 seconds.

Any future versions could include a control panel so that the owner could programme the machine to print from a particular hashtag or from multiple accounts, Vaughan said, but added that it may be a little "complicated".

PTI