The story behind Wordles is mysterious and entertaining.
In 1992, I was informed that my great great Uncle Leonard, who lived far in the
north of England, had left an estate in his will. Being the only living descendant,
I had inherited the property and was thus launched on the most amazing adventure
of my life.
I took time off from work and made arrangements to visit my new estate. After several
grueling days of travel (I had to backtrack and rent a tough four wheel drive vehicle
to crawl roads that hadn't been traversed in years), I finally arrived at the mansion,
my new fortune. I was immediately disappointed.
It was a stone building that, it turns out, had been standing for several centuries.
It was obvious that no human had set foot near the place for many years.
I explored the grounds, hoping to find anything of value, for the expense of fixing
up the road alone would be higher than the price of the building and land combined.
After a time, I found a hidden door in the floorboards of the old stone building,
leading down to a large basement.
Inside, I was amazed to find row after row of complex mechanical machines. They
were all in disrepair, but amazingly intricate; some sporting works finer than Swiss
watch movements. In the corner of the room I found a laboratory book, written in
the hand of my great great Uncle Leonard. It was entitled "Wordles!"
The book explained that the devices were logic machines designed to perform word
calculations. My ancestor was a scholar of both logic and language, and had succeeded
in bridging the gap between words and technology.
I became very excited at the prospect, for I have always been amused by words, yet
bewildered at the lack of precision they carry and the way people use them so carelessly.
My great great Uncle Leonard had made words a literal science and embodied that
science in mechanical machinery over a hundred years ago!
I set about trying to understand the machines. It was very difficult work. I enlisted
interested students from a nearby university to help with the research. Over the
years, I have actually been able to restore some of the simpler ones to operation.
I have had the basement and house restored, and now make residence in the old building.
And I have managed to connect several of the resuscitated machines directly to the
So the Wordles web site was born. It is my hope that Internet technologies will
allow many people to appreciate the incredible work performed by my great great
Uncle Leonard over a hundred years ago.
I have only begun to restore these wonderful machines...