In the shul (synagogue) I went to growing up, and in other shuls I've been to, they had a device for displaying the current page number. It was a wall-mounted box with three windows, behind each of which was shown one digit. You could change each digit independently by turning a wheel at the bottom of the device. The device shown in this video has similar functionality.

I am trying to find such devices for sale but so far getting nowhere. Googling turned up this discussion thread from a few years ago where someone else had the same problem.

Where can such a device be procured? What is it called?

The ideal device would:

  • Display three or four large digits

  • Allow the numbers to be changed on Shabbat

  • Be wall-mounted and controlled from below

  • Operate very quietly, so as not to disrupt prayer in progress

  • Require as little effort, time, and obtrusion to change as possible (For example, advancing a page should mean something like turning a wheel a little, not taking down the sign, removing one number, sticking in another, and putting he sign back up.)

I'm open to products made for this purpose or creative re-purposing of other products. Perhaps this is a product that's more available in Israel or in Chassidish markets and easier to find if you know good Hebrew or Yiddish search terms.

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    I've never seen one in E"Y, or in any chassidish shtibels or shuls (they seem to be mainly for congregations who aren't as fluent in davening, so you're probably less likely to find them there, not more) – Uber_Chacham Feb 25 '18 at 6:03
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    I don't know where you can get one, but R. Moshe Feinstein has a responsum discussing whether this is allowed on Shabbat. Igrot Moshe O.C. 1:135 hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=916&pgnum=227 – Alex Feb 25 '18 at 6:03
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    Consider asking a synagogue that has one. – msh210 Feb 25 '18 at 6:59
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    We've been using a table tennis scoreboard amazon.com/Stiga-Scoreboard-for-Table-Tennis/dp/B0038IQ3JI – Kazi bácsi Feb 25 '18 at 7:45
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    The latest Jewish Action had an ad for one which appears to just hold cards. I have a feeling that the devices with more sophisticated mechanical mechanisms, like you describe, were popular a generation or two ago in churches as well; at this point the churches have gone to electronic ones, hence a dwindling market. – Shalom Feb 25 '18 at 9:46

Recently I was at the Jewish Learning Center in Manalapan, NJ. They had in the front a wood contraption, with a dowel going through, and three sets of digits from 0-9. When they wanted to show the page number, someone manually adjusted the digits.

I would imagine this can be made by any carpenter.

  • Or an avid Lowes shopper +1 – Dr. Shmuel Jun 12 '20 at 14:26

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