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Ticker tape tweets let you hashtag like it's 1867

Charmingly nostalgic homemade Twittertape Machine prints out tweets instead of stock prices. Alexander Graham Bell totally would have tweeted to Watson on this thing.

Adam Vaughan

If you can post to Twitter using Morse Code, you should darn well be able to get tweets via ticker tape.

Enter the Twittertape Machine, which eschews annoyingly modern smartphone screens for a printed feed of tweets and mentions delivered in the style of the 19th-century ticker tape machine.

"This astounding device will print a permanent copy of all tweets yet requires no ink or computer," reads the site for the standalone contraption, which British Web developer Adam Vaughan built from scratch with used parts from clocks and other objects.

The steampunk-y device, created as a one-off curiosity piece, hides a thermal printer and microcontroller in its wooden base. It connects to a computer via Ethernet cable and checks Vaughan's Twitter account for new data every 30 seconds.

Vaughn, who's 32, tells CNET he's always loved the design of ticker tape machines.

"I got the idea that I'd really like to have one on my desk, but of course they're incredibly rare now and sell for huge amounts of money," he said. "Then it struck me that even if I did manage to get one it would just sit there gathering dust, doing nothing. So I had the idea that I would build one of my own, one that actually functioned... I was trying to think about what information it could produce, and of course Twitter is just a perfect fit -- short succinct messages just like the stock movements of old."

But ticker tape could work for other modern modes of information gathering, as well, Vaughan said. Planned improvements for Twittertape Machine 2.0 include Wi-Fi and a control panel that lets users select multiple Web-based feeds, such as RSS or Facebook.

And yes, while it certainly takes data longer to arrive via ticker tape than mobile app, there's no denying that paper is far more suited than an iPhone or Galaxy S4 for tweets about Strauss waltzes and President Andrew Johnson.

Adam Vaughan

(Via BBC News)