The name Lewis Carroll is often most famously associated with the literary works Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking Glass (1872). Translated into 174 languages, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has assured that the name Lewis Carroll remains a household name in the world of children’s literature across the world. Aside from his talents as a novelist Lewis Carroll, pseudonym name for the man born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, was also a passionate inventor and mathematician by profession.
Both as a mathematician and author, Carroll was fascinated with logic. Thanks to this fascination it led him to develop some quite interesting inventions.
Among his most ingenious creations was a device that would allow people to write in the dark. His invention was called the the nyctograph. This device was a piece of card made up of 16 square holes (two rows of eight) that offered a guide for the user to enter a shorthand alphabet code made up of dots and dashes. The perfect solution for a literary genius who never knows when his ideas would come to mind.Carroll considered this device most useful for writing down ideas during a disturbed sleep and also thought it could be useful for the blind or partially sighted.
Carroll, the original inventor of Scrabble?
Carroll also came up with an idea for a board game composed of letters, with the aim of organising them into words on a chess-type board. This invention is now considered the ‘original’ form of the modern day game Scrabble.
The official inventor of the popular board game was however considered to be Alfred Butts, a New York architect, who developed Scrabble during the 1930s.
Butts was left unemployed after the economic crash of 1929. This meant he had plenty of free time to concentrate on the detailed development of his board game. Initially named Lexico, it gained little success, so was relaunched in 1948 under the name Scrabble.