A Autofeather is a magical writing machine using animated nibs controlled by keys on a tiered board, to write on paper and other thin and flexible materials.
An Autofeather has three main components:
- Material-Holder, often also called Writing console, on which the Writing Medium is affixed
- Ground plate with Keyboard, is usually a 3-tiered arrangement of Letters used to actuate the Machine
- Nib-Gantry, a vertically moveable Mechanism holding the Nibs both to the Machine and on a fixed distance to the Writing Medium
Variations on the Components or the addition of specialized Sub-Components are common.
Each Nib draws its Ink from a magically compressed Reservoir in its Base, usually holding enough to fill around 40 pages with 1800 characters, before needing a replacement.
Any manufactory with a modicum of technical talent can produce acceptable Autofeathers, making access to them a fairly cheap and the devices readily available for purchase.
However, in Quality and Features, each Brand or Model can be vastly different.
For People that do not care or do not have the means to purchase an Autofeather can gain access for a small fee at a Wizard School, Library or in rural areas, within the mayors or local governors official bureau.
Mechanics & Inner Workings
A piece of Paper is arrested on the pult-like Material-Holder. The row of writing-nibs is then moved towards the top of the plate by extending the scissor-like Nib-Gantryto its top-most point. On most models, an audible click sound and increased resistance of the scissor-mechanism indicates that it is in the correct position.
Pressing one of the Letter-, Number-, or Interpunctuation-Keys activates the first nib, which causes the nib to move in a way that affixes the requested symbol on the writing material. Each following letter will activate the next nib in sequence until the last one is reached. On cheap models, the writer has to use a ratchet-mechanism actuated by a lever to retract the gantry by one (or multiple) line-heights.
Most common addition to an Autofeather is the Ability to switch between upper- and lowercase Letters by having two sets of Nibs on a mechanical Swivel which brings either one or the other near the Writing-Material.
Many Businesses also like to purchase special "Bookkeepers-Autofeathers" that have Modules for drawing tables or allow for semi-automatic numbering, which can be used on bills or to number pages in a book.
The most extravagant Devices have exchangeable Scrollscripting-Plates which is often used for preparing magically enforced Contracts or certified Letters in cases where pre-produced Forms are not wanted.
The advent of the Autofeather has, without doubt, brought Inquest into the future. Now, even untrained People, can send letters and write reports.
Many new job opportunities have also been created like contract-copiers used to reproduce small runs of news or informational products.
Many Traditionalists are lamenting the imaginery loss of the craft of feather-writing. To those, I say this:
How many letters have never been sent because a shaking hand couldn't finish the announcement of a tiny new life having entered the world, and how many never got closure because tears were diluting the still-wet ink?
While many Companies like to claim to be the original Inventor of the Autofeather, it is most likely a product of multiple creators being influenced by the same technologies becoming available, most importantly Scrollscripting and the advent of affordable Paper.
The most common complaint about all models of Autofeathers is their relatively great height, as the full Page needs to be laying Flat on the Material-Holder. This, with requiring Writing-Nibs for each Position on the Paper, makes them naturally bulky.
An frequent Question is why the Paper is not turned over a Roll, only presenting the current Line to the Mechanism, to which Shearn Fillwitch, Owner of Brossals Autofeather-Sellery has to say: "Don't be silly. It would be a complete and perfect hassle to get the Paper in straight! Be sensible!"
He declined to answer a follow-up Question if the Writing-Nib couldn't be moved laterally to save on the total amount of Writing-Nibs required, dismissing it with: "And why not have it make a little Bell-Sound when it's reached the End while you're at it? Silly person you."
This Article takes part in
World Anvil Summer Camp 2021
AN EXTRAORDINARY WRITING TOOL (OR TYPE OF WRITING TOOL)
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