Giving a Voice

Modern day technology has allowed individuals from different backgrounds to have a voice. Ebooks specifically have given validity to academia voices and the ability for access to all. I’m going to share the story of the first ebook ever created. This amazing innovation was conceived by a Spanish woman 70 years ago.

The Woman

Ángela Ruiz Robles was a Spanish teacher born in Villamanín, Leon (1895). She was worried about the weight of the books carried by her students. Also, she felt there was a need to give access to books in a country at that time where 75% of the women could not read or write. So to come up with a solution, Ángela invented the first ebook. Her electronic book was called the Mechanical Encyclopedia. This was one of the first forms of student engagement.

Mechanical Encyclopedia

She used coils, spools, and compressed air to create her electronic book. On the left of the box an automatic series of alphabets (any language), with a push of a button the required text and sentences appeared. Also, on the right hand side, you will find line and ornamental drawings. The functionality that amazes me the most is the books could be illuminated which allows students to read at night as well. In 1949, Ruiz was awarded Spanish patent 190,698 for the “Mechanical Encyclopedia”.


Her forward thinking in creating an ebook with the ability for automation, different languages, and mobility. Ángela wrote 16 publications on teaching pedagogy including “Atlas científico gramatical” (to learn about the syntax and morphology of the Spanish language). As a result, her impact on technology and education was world-renowned. Google dedicated a doodle to the trailblazer on March 28, 2016, for her 121st birthday. Ed-tech company Genius Plaza, also dedicated an ebook to the tech pioneer.

Jehu Somarriba

Educator looking to motivate and ignite the genius in every child through use of technology.

3 thoughts on “Giving a Voice

  • April 1, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    For as much as I love eBooks and women’s history I did not know this at all! Cool!

  • April 2, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    I love this article, I remember my first experience with an electronic book and it completely changed the way my kids and me read, very accessible, cheap and basically weightless.

  • April 2, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    Wow! The innovation involved in the Mechanical Encyclopedia is amazing! I learned something new. Thank you for the post!


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