NyctographIn 1891, the writer Lewis Carroll invented the nyctograph, a device consisting of a flat board with a series of squares cut into it that could be used, letter by letter, to guide his pen as he wrote in the dark. Carroll even invented an encrypted alphabet just for the purpose: “I tried rows of square holes,” he wrote, “but the letters were still apt to be illegible. Then I said to myself, ‘Why not invent a square alphabet, using only dots at the corners, and lines along the sides?’” Carroll kept the device inside a notebook in his bed. “If I wake and think of something I wish to record,” he later explained, “[I] draw from under the pillow a small memorandum book containing my nyctograph, write a few lines, or even a few pages . . . replace the book, and go to sleep again.”
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