Your Time Is Up, But I Still Think You’re All Geniuses

imageIt’s the Eureka Machine for Composing Hexameter Latin Verses, invented in the mid-19th century by a cousin of the Englishmen who started the company known today as Clark Shoes.


When the front of the case was closed (thought it’s shown open here), there were six windows. You paid your shilling, the National Anthem started playing, and the machine got to work. Clark had pre-encoded words on turning cylinders, whose projecting pins would cause letters to drop, forming Latin verses. The cylinders turned randomly, so that a different verse was formed each time, but each verse had the same grammatical shape: adjective, noun, adverb, verb, noun, adjective:



The worst kingships at home lead to astonishing wounds.


The number of possible permutations the Eureka can run through is 26 million. Clark also invented a waterproof fabric, but most unfortunately for him, he sold the patent to a Mr. Mackintosh.

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