Without a shadow of doubt, one of the greatest inventions of the 21st century is the e-reader. Our reasoning is simple: As great as inventions such as the Internet and 3D printing are, they don't allow you to read Taken By The T-Rex during your daily commute. There are no other reasons.
But, as it turns out, old-timey people were also able to read ankle pornography or fantasy novels about women's rights in complete privacy, all thanks to the Fiske Reading Machine, a handheld device that was apparently designed by a sadistic yet bookwormish ophthalmologist.
A man so crucial to reading smut in public, pictures of him
are printed only in 50 actual shades of gray.
It was incredibly simple to use. Using a font size that could be measured only in gnome tears, each book was printed onto a series of thin pamphlet cards. Once slotted into the machine, all the reader had to do was look through the eyeglass and, voila, reading. It was reported at the time that Mark Twain's The Innocents Abroad, a weighty tome clocking in at 93,000 words, could be shrunk down to only 13 pamphlets, which is an impressive achievement considering that old-timey words were super long and slang hadn't been invented yet.