Origin of 1000 Monkeys on Typewriters?

What is the origin of the hypothetical 1000 monkeys on 1000 typewriters (give or take) randomly typing out the encyclopedia, or such? Where does this come from?

A dude named Émile Borel.

AFAIK the original quote is from an essay by French mathematician (and politician) Émile Borel.

ETA: Ninja’d as I looked for a cite! Well done, Johnny Bravo!

Sometimes we monkeys get lucky.

Thanks! So… have the monkeys won out, yet? :smiley:

No. Actually this is the blurst of times for them.

No, but you can find some of their works on sale at airport bookstores everywhere.

Here’s Bob Newhart.

Only at some of the translation bureaus I’ve worked with. :rolleyes:

Results of a pilot study with fewer monkeys were disappointing.

The experiment was, however, declared a success as performance art.

^ Macaques? PFFFT! What do they know? They’re the Peter Benchley of the primate world!

See Russell Maloney’s 1940 New Yorker short story, “Inflexible Logic.” Marvelous comic take on the Infinite Monkeys Theory.


I first read that in the 1958 anthology Fantasia Mathematica, which I cannot recommend highly enough.

Thanks for the tip; just bought a copy.

Clifton Fadiman curated the BEST anthologies!