The Bennett scotograph was invented by Thomas J. Bennett of Lyons Plains, a small community within the town of Weston, Connecticut. He was awarded patent no.553,504 for it on January 28, 1896. Unfortunately for Bennett scotographs were already an outdated technology by at least 50 years. In fact, even the term scotograph was already appropriated by the photography industry by 1896. Even if Bennett had invented his devise in the era of such instruments, it would have still been a very crude example compared to one like the Carlsson which predated the Bennett by about 25 years.

To use the Bennett, the user would insert a sheet of paper under the guides and clamp it at the top of the devise. To advance as each line is completed, the user pulls the writing surface upwards. There are notches on the back of the writing surface that a spring pops into to ensure that each line is evenly spaced.

Bennett Scotograph


T.J. Bennett

Lyon Plains, Weston, Connecticut

Scotograph was the 19th century term used to describe any instrument for writing in the dark, or by the blind). At its most basic, these types of devices would clamp down on a sheet of paper while providing some sort of guidance (like pair of evenly spaced rails) so that the user could write a straight line even if vision impaired. The Bennett, even in 1896, was an extremely basic, extremely primitive example of a Scotograph

Questions? Comments? Have more information? Have a Bennett or other scotograph for sale? Please email me at