Louis Braille inventor of Braille in 1824.
AT A GLANCE:
Louis Braille was accidentally blinded in one eye at the age of three.
Within two years, a disease in his other eye left him completely blind.
When he was
fifteen, he developed an ingenious system of reading and writing by means of
raised dots. Today, in virtually every language throughout the world,
Braille is the standard form of writing and reading used by visually
WHERE TO FIND
HOW IT WORKS
DID YOU KNOW?
Modern day prototype.
||January 4, 1809 in
1852 in Paris, France
||Braille in 1824
||noun / named for its inventor Louis Braille
||Braille is a tactile
writing system used by blind people. Braille generally consists of
cells of 6 raised dots conventionally numbered and the presence or
absence of dots gives the coding for the symbol.
1809 Louis Braille is born in Coupvray, near Paris France on January
1812 Louis becomes blind, the result of an accident while playing in
his fathers shop.
1819 Louis sent to Paris to live and study at the National Institute for
1824 Louis developed a system,
employing a 6-dot cell and based upon normal spelling
1827 Louis published the first book printed using braille to
describe and teach his system
1828 Louis becomes a full time teacher at the school where he was once a
1840 Louis and his friend Pierre Foucault developed a machine to speed
up the printing process
1852 When Louis died at age 43, not one newspaper in all of Paris
wrote of his death.
1868 Braille, his 6-dot method is accepted as a
world wide standard
1952 On the 100th anniversary of his death, the French government honors
CAPS: Braille, Louis Braille, Valentin Hauy,
Charles Barbier, Night Writing, William Bell Wait, Simon-René
Braille, Pierre Foucault, Dr. Thomas Armitage, Royal Institute for Blind
braille, writing, communications, SIPS, history, biography, inventor,
inventor of, history of, who invented, invention of, fascinating
Less than 200 years ago, it was said that
the blind would never be able to read. People thought that it was only
eyesight that could help humans see and read words. A young French boy Louis
Braille, who was blind, was determined to find the key to access new methods
for himself and all other blind persons of the world.
Louis Braille was born on 4th January, 1809, at Coupvray, near
Paris, France..His father, Simon-René Braille, was a harness and saddle
maker. At the age of three, Braille
injured his left eye with a stitching awl from his father's workshop. This
destroyed his left eye, and sympathetic ophthalmia led to loss of vision in
his right eye. Braille was completely blind by the age of four. Despite his
disability, Braille continued to attend school, with the support of his
parents, until he was required to read and write.
Louis Braille was unhappy in school, because his blindness prevented him
from reading books. At age 10, he was sent to Paris to live and study at the
Royal Institute for Blind Youth, the world's first of its kind.
At the school, the children were taught basic craftsman's skills and simple
trades. They were also taught how to read by feeling raised letters (a
system devised by the school's founder, Valentin Haüy). He thought there
had to be a better, easier, and faster way for the blind to read. He was
determined to invent it.
From age 12 to 15, he experimented with codes, using a knitting needle to
punch holes in paper to represent letters. He shared his progress with
officials at the institute but wasn't taken seriously. Braille, a bright and creative student, became a talented cellist and
organist in his time at the school, playing the organ for churches all over
When Louis was fifteen, he developed an ingenious system of reading and
writing by means of raised dots. Two years later he adapted his method to
musical notation. He used a pattern of 6 raised dots to
represent letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and mathematical symbols. Louis showed his Braille method to his classmates who liked it and
began using it, in spite of the fact that it was banned from the institute.
At age 17, Louis graduated, became assistant teacher at the institute, and
secretly taught his method. Mr. Braille accepted a full-time teaching
position at the Institute when he was nineteen.
Braille later extended his system to include notation for mathematics and
music. The first book in Braille was published in 1827 under the title
Method of Writing Words, Music, and Plain Songs by Means of Dots, for Use by
the Blind and Arranged for Them. .After some slight modification it reached its present form in 1834, and is
the system which has since borne his name.
In 1839 Braille published details of a
method he had developed for communication with sighted people, using
patterns of dots to approximate the shape of printed symbols. Braille and
his friend Pierre Foucault went on to develop a machine to speed up the
somewhat cumbersome system.
He had always been plagued by ill health, and he died in Paris of
tuberculosis in 1852 at the age of 43; Not one newspaper in all of
Paris wrote of his death. Although he was admired and respected by his
pupils, his Braille system was never taught at the Institute during his
Six months later, the institute officially adopted his 6-dot method. By
1868,his raised 6-dot system became a world wide standard, helping the blind
read books, clocks, wristwatches, thermometers, sheet music and even
In 1952, on the 100th anniversary of his death, newspapers everywhere
printed his story. His portrait appeared on postage stamps, and his home is
now a museum. In his honor, the French government moved his remains to the
Pantheon in Paris. There Louis Braille was laid to rest with other great
He was a kind, compassionate teacher and an accomplished
musician. He gave his life in selfless service to his pupils, to his
friends, and to the perfection of his raised dot method.
Today, Braille has been adapted to almost every major national language and
is the primary system of written communication for visually impaired persons
around the world. The name of Braille will always remain associated with one of the greatest
and most beneficent devices ever invented.
Invention of Braille
from The Great Idea Finder
from The Great Idea Finder
ON THE BOOKSHELF:
Braille for the Sighted
by S. Harold Collins, Jane Schneider, Kathy Kifer /
Paperback: 32 pages / Garlic Press (1998)
An introduction to braille for those who are
sighted. Learn the alphabet and numbers to complete a variety of games and
Louis Braille, The Boy Who Invented Books For The Blind
by Margaret Davidson, Janet Compere / Paperback: 80 pages / Scholastic
Paper, Reissue (1991)
The poignant story of the man who developed the Braille system of printing
for the blind.
Out of Darkness : The Story of Louis Braille
by Russell Freedman / Paperback: 96 pages / Clarion Books (September 20,
A biography of the 19th century Frenchman who developed Braille. The book
spans Braille's life from childhood through his days at the Royal Institute
for Blind Youth and into his final years, when the alphabet he invented was
finally gaining acceptance.
Louis Braille: A Touch of Genius
by C. Michael Mellor, Michael C. Mellor / Hardcover: 144 pages / National
Braille Press (2006)
Born sighted, Louis Braille accidentally blinded himself at the age of 3. He
was lucky enough to be sent to a school for blind children in Paris, one of
the first in the world. There, at the age of sixteen, he worked tirelessly
on a revolutionary system of finger reading that became braille. He was a
talented musician, astute businessman, and genius inventor — collaborating
with another Frenchman to invent the first dot-matrix printer around 1840.
ON THE WEB:
The Braille System
Alphabet and number charts provide the basics of the Braille code.
The Blind Lead the Blind
From age 12 to 15, he experimented with codes, using a knitting
needle to punch holes in paper to represent letters. He shared his progress
with officials at the institute but wasn't taken seriously. How could a
invent a better reading method.
Story of Louis Braille
There was a time, not long ago, when most people thought that blind people
could never learn to read. People thought that the only way to read was to
look at words with your eyes.
Braille On the Internet
The New York Institute for Special Education.
Serving students with special needs since 1831
Louis Braiile Biography
A New Method: The Story of Louis Braille by Carolyn Meyer
The Life of Louis Braille
Dr Thomas Armitage led a group of four blind men to found the British and
Foreign Society for Improving the Embossed Literature of the Blind. This
small band of friends grew and grew to become Royal National Institute of
the Blind (RNIB). They are now the largest publisher of braille in Europe.
The National Library
for the Blind
This organization is a registered charity. We believe that visually impaired
people should have the same access to books and information as sighted
people. Our website provides a range of exciting, innovative services to
meet this need.
Braille is a tactile writing system used by blind people. Braille generally
consists of cells of 6 raised dots conventionally numbered and the presence
or absence of dots gives the coding for the symbol.
When Louis Braille grew up he became a teacher at the school in which he was
a student. It was not until after his death, however, that his system was
widely adopted. Today, Braille is used in almost every country in the world.
WHERE TO FIND:
The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) currently houses a database
called the Louis Database of Accessible Materials for People who are Blind
or Visually Impaired. Louis contains information about tens of thousands of
titles of accessible materials, including braille, large print, sound
recordings, and computer files from over 170 agencies throughout the United
Store for People With Vision Loss
The Ann Morris Enterprises businesse is dedicated to people with vision loss.
For your convenience they have developed the site in full compliance with
accessibility standards. Visitors using screen-reader software should find
the site friendly and easy to use. Low vision visitors should find it
comfortable as well.
WORDS OF WISDOM:
"Access to communication in the widest
sense is access to knowledge, and that is vitally important for us … We do
not need pity, nor do we need to be reminded that we are vulnerable. We must
be treated as equals, and communication is the way we can bring this about."
- Louis Braille, 1841
"We the blind are as indebted to Louis Braille as mankind is to
Gutenberg." - Helen Keller
HOW IT WORKS:
Process for Converting Information to Braille
The sections are designed to provide the reader an overview of the process
of converting text to alternative print. This article is based on procedures
and techniques developed by Disability Resources for Students at Arizona
State University for the production of mandated alternative print
accommodations. Specific software and hardware brands are listed in the
DID YOU KNOW?
- Braille is also notable for being a binary
code that predated the invention of the computer.
trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.
Reference Sources in BOLD Type.
This page revised May 16, 2006.
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