WHILE e-readers are widely regarded as a modern phenomenon, some historians believe a Spanish woman had the idea over 60 years ago.

In 1949 a teacher named Angelina Ruiz Robles created a device she called the Mechanical Encyclopedia, long before the arrival of Kindles, Kobos and Nooks.

The device used pressurised air to turn pages of preloaded content and even included a ‘zoom’ feature.

Robles intended the device to reduce the weight of her students’ school bags.

Sadly Robles could not find sufficient funding for the project so prototype never made it to the market.

“There were other priorities in the country and they went for other projects,” said María Jose Rodriguez Fortiz from the University of Granada.

“It is easy to see that there are very few women who have dared to enter their ideas for inventions and innovations,” she added.