The first movable books actually predate the print culture. The earliest known examples of such interactive mechanisms are by Ramón Llull (c.1235-1316) of Majorca, a Catalán mystic and poet. His works contain volvelles or revolving discs, which he used to illustrate his complex philosophical search for truth. Volvelles were utilized from Llull's time through to the eighteenth century for manuscripts and in printed books. They illustrated a variety of topics, including natural science, astronomy, mathematics, mysticism, fortune telling, navigation, and medicine.
Other types of movables, in particular "turn-up" or "lift-the-flap" mechanisms, were in use as early as the fourteenth century. They were especially helpful in books on anatomy, where separate leaves, each featuring a different section of the body, could be hinged together at the top and attached to a page. This technique enabled the viewer to unfold, for instance, multiple depths of a torso, from ribcage to abdomen to spine. One spectacular example of an anatomical movable is Andreas Vesalius' De humani corporis fabrica librorum epitome, printed in Basel in 1543. It features a movable illustration in which the human anatomy is shown in seven detailed superimposed layers.