News From 1935
The Cedar Valley Daily Times
Thursday, January 17, 1935.
‘Talking Book’ Machine Ready For the Blind.
Through the efforts of the Lions club of Vinton, the local library owns a Talking Book reading machine for the enjoyment of the blind and those unable to read ink print.
The machine, a small, compact affair, which outwardly resembles a portable victrola, is manufactured under the auspices of the American Foundation for the Blind. It is nothing more or less than a mechanized voice which recites whole books to the listener.
Book on 15 Records.
For example, "As the Earth Turns." By Gladys Carroll, recently a best seller, is recorded on 15 double-faced records, each disk playing for 18 minutes, 32 revolutions to the minute as compared to the 78 revolutions of a commercial recording.
The blind person--who would "read" the Carroll novel simply puts the first record of the series into the machine, much the same as he would insert a recording of music in an ordinary phonograph, and as the end of each disk is reached he changes until all 15 have been played on both sides.
In addition, the Talking Book machine has a radio, and an apparatus for playing regular commercial records. Simple adjustments of conveniently situated knobs and dials make operation, by the blind a matter of ease.
‘Books' Are Loaned.
Besides "As the Earth Turns" the Vinton library has ordered "Very Good, Jeeves", by the incomparable P. G. Wodehouse. Mrs. Harry Holck, librarian, said the "books" should arrive soon from a branch of the Chicago public library. The records are not purchased merely loaned for a 14 day period. After that they are returned and others obtained.
The machine, set in the basement of the Vinton library where it will not disturb readers above, is open to all blind persons who don’t have access to similar machines at the Iowa School for the Blind which has two “readers” for its students.