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Hanging By a Thread

Back in the day, and we mean back in the 1300s, authors didn’t have software to drop motion effects into their blogs. So, when a scholar wanted to share an idea that required motion they used what was at hand. In this case a thread. This early science book features a volvelle or revolving disk. The book was printed with a copy of the moon. The buyer of the book was expected to cut out the moon and attach it to the page using thread. This left it free to rotate in relation to the marks on the page. Some volvelles had as many as three layers and some worked like astronomical instruments.

The L. Tom Perry Special Collections holds a variety of books that illustrate the advances in learning technology from clay tablets to magnetic storage. If you are interested in learning more stop by room 1130 of the library. If you have some friends who share your interests, or you if teach a course that has ties to the history of books, printing, or science you can ask for a special presentation of interesting items from the collections. Call (801) 422-3175.