Ángela Ruiz Robles

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Ángela Ruiz Robles
Ángela Ruiz Robles (MUNCYT, Eulogia Merle).jpg
Personal details
Ángela Ruiz Robles

March 28, 1895
Villamanín, Leon
DiedOctober 27, 1975
Ferrol, A Coruña
ParentsElena Robles
Feliciano Ruiz
OccupationTeacher, Inventor

Angela Ruiz Robles (March 28, 1895 Villamanín, Leon - October 27, 1975, Ferrol, A Coruña) was a Spanish teacher, writer, pioneer and inventor of the mechanical precursor to the electronic book. In 1949, Ruiz was awarded Spanish patent 190,698 for the "Mechanical Encyclopedia" (Spanish: la Enciclopedia Mecánica).

Ruiz Robles wanted to lighten the weight of the books carried by her students, so she devised a device consisting of a series of text and illustrations on reels, all under a sheet of magnifying glass with a light for reading in the dark, and was to incorporate spoken descriptions of each topic. Her device was never put into production but a prototype is kept in A Coruña National Science and Technology Museum.[1]

Mechanical Encyclopedia[edit]

The following is a translated description of the device:[2]

'When opened, it consists of two parts. On the left there is a series of automatic alphabets, in any language: slight pressure on a button displays the required letters, making words, sentences, a lesson or a topic, and all manner of writings. In the upper right-hand part of the alphabets is a coil with all manner of line drawings, and on the left there is another coil with ornamental and figure drawings. In the lower part of the alphabets there is a plastic sheet for writing, editing or drawing. On the inside there is a box where subjects can be stored. The subjects are stored in the right-hand part, passing beneath a transparent, unbreakable sheet; these can be enlarged, and the books can be illuminated so that they can still be read if there is otherwise no light. The right-hand and left-hand sides of the section the materials pass through contain two coils in which the books the user wants to read in any language are placed; moving these allows all the topics to pass by, stopping as and when the user wishes, or to be collected. The coils are automatic and can be moved from the box and expanded, so that the whole subject remains visible. The device may be placed either on a table (like an ordinary book) or perpendicular to it, which is handy for the user, since it eliminates a great deal of mental and physical effort. All the components are replaceable. When closed, it is the same size as an ordinary book, and easy to handle. For authors and publishers it greatly reduces production costs, for it does not require either paste or binding, and can be printed either in a single print run, or section by section (if there are several) – a procedure of value to all.'


Ruiz Robles appears in the 2011 Spanish publication 200 Years of Patents in the "Women" section, published by the Spanish Ministry of Industry.[3]

Ruiz Robles’s 121st birthday was the subject of a Google Doodle on March 28, 2016.[4]


  1. ^ Lallanilla, Marc. "Is This 1949 Device the World's First E-Reader?". Live Science. Archived from the original on 23 August 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  2. ^ Gaceta de la Actualidad Técnica. Year II, No. 14, September 1955
  3. ^ OFICINA ESPAÑOLA DE PATENTES Y MARCAS Spanish Ministry of Industry, 2011
  4. ^ Angela Ruiz Robles's 121st Birthday Google, 2018