Fahrenheit 451

This clever copy of Fahrenheit 451 can only be read when burned

Contributed by
Oct 18, 2017

Fahrenheit 451 is the 1953 Ray Bradbury novel (soon to be a film) about a “fireman” who burns books rather than saves them, as a means to keep society illiterate and complacent. The novel has been a lightning rod for issues of censorship and book banning, and it begins with the sentence, “It was a pleasure to burn.”

Now, thanks to a special edition by printers Charles Nypels Lab and the graphic designers at Super Terrain, you have to burn the book in order to read it.

Charles Nypels Lab posted a video on Instagram that shows this science in action. The blackened paper reacts to the flame of a lighter, revealing the words within. As paper typically chars and blackens when exposed to fire, it’s as if we’re seeing oxidation in reverse.

It’s a lovely twist on the novel itself—the fact that it’s made with fire-retardant material. The creators will be preventing a book as thought-provoking as Fahrenheit 451 from being destroyed by fire--a book that was challenged as recently as 2006.

Famously, Bradbury came up with the title Fahrenheit 451 because he believed it was the temperature at which paper auto-ignited. According to Slate, paper actually ignites at 480 degrees (depending on density), but that’s an estimate for a single sheet of paper. It would take a higher temperature for an entire book to combust.

Not that we have to worry about that

Via FastCompany.

Make Your Inbox Important

Get our newsletter and you’ll be delivered the most interesting stories, videos and interviews weekly.

Sign-up breaker