Braille - History of Braille


The writing system for the blind known as Braille was invented by the French student Louis Braille in 1824. At the time, he was 15 years old and attending France's Royal Institute for Blind Youth. The school had a number of books in which the letters were raised, but these were hard to both make and read. After hearing about a military code using raised dots, he created a simpler system to represent French regular and accented letters. He first published a description of his system, including musical notation, in 1829.

The Braille writing system for the blind became popular quickly. He became a professor at the Institute for Blind Youth, and continued to work on his writing system. Louis Braille published an update in 1837. The Braille system of using raised dots to represent letters has been adopted to many other languages, and is used throughout the world.

  • Louis Braille was born in 1809, near Paris, France. When he was three years old, his eye was wounded while he was playing in his father's workshop. The eye became infected, and it spread to the other eye. Bad infections as a result of wounds were common at the time.

  • Braille was inspired by "night writing", a code system developed around 1820 by Charles Barbier. It was designed for soldiers to be able to read instructions without light. The system was complicated, though. It required twelve dots to represent a single character.

  • Refreshable Braille displays for computers were first introduced in 1975. These devices have a flat surface with round pins that raise and lower to form Braille letters.

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