ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

"Eyes" For The Blind and The invention of Braille

Updated on February 8, 2020

Louis Braille

Louis Braille
Louis Braille

Louis Braille 1809-1854

Louis Braille was born in 1809 in Coupvray, France, a son of Simon and Monique Braille. His father was a leatherworker and in his shop when little Louis, age three, suffered a debilitating accident leaving him blind in one eye. Before long, infection traveled to his other eye, now leaving him blind.

Louis was such a good-natured child he seldom complained but only kept asking, "why is it always dark?" He enrolled in school, and his teachers were very impressed with his analytical mind. One day, a wealthy patron heard of Louis and his disability, and she generously arranged for him to go to school at the National Institute for Blind Youth in Paris.

Previously, the school had been a jail, and it was cold, damp, and dark. There were a lot of rules and harsh treatment for the children. It had to be hard for the teachers to teach their blind students somehow. o

One day, Louis's teacher, Dr. Alexander Francois Pigner, invited a man named Charles Barbier to speak to the students. He had devised a "night" writing system for the military using raised dots to spell out words. As it turned out, it was too complicated for the military to use.

However, young Louis was so impressed that he began experimenting on his own convinced he could find a way to improve on a system that would work. Finally, in 1825, barely sixteen, he showed it to his teacher, Dr. Pigner, who ten encouraged all his students to use it. Dr. Pignier wrote The History of France using the new invention. The school immediately dismissed him from teaching.

In 1834, Louis, now in his mid-twenties, was invited to demonstrate his system at The Expedition of Industry in Paris. He had also published a book detailing how to use his system. Still, the National Institute for the Blind refused to use his system. It would take two years after Louis' death, and eight years after Amsterdam started using his system that Braille's system would adopt it for their use.

Most of the world was using Braille's system by now, and the United States adopted it by 1916.

The childhood home of Louis Braille in Coupvray is listed as a historic building and houses the Braille Museum. The square in the city was renamed Braille Square with a monument in his honor. He has been commemorated worldwide on several stamps, and the Encylopedia Briticanna has listed him as "100 Most Influential Inventors of All Time".


National Institute School for the Blind Youth

National Institute School for the Blind Youth
National Institute School for the Blind Youth

The Braille Alphabet

Braille Alphabet
Braille Alphabet

Perkins School for the Blind

The first school for the blind was initially named The New England Asylum for the Blind. Later, renamed after Thomas Handasyd Perkins, who was losing his sight at the time. He had donated his mansion for the school then later bought a larger building in Boston. Today, Perkins School for the Blind is located in Watertown, Massachusetts.

This property was home to Laura Bridgman and Helen Keller. Laura was the first deaf-blind American to receive an education, some fifty years before Helen Keller. After Charles Dickens had visited the school in 1842, he wrote about the accomplishments in his book, American Notes. Sometime in 1887, the school sent Anne Sullivan to Alabama to teach young Helen Keller. Sullivan returned to the Perkins School with Helen for further training.

Louis Braille and Helen Keller

Louis Braille and Helen Keller
Louis Braille and Helen Keller

Helen Keller at Perkins School for the Blind

Helen Keller, born blind, deaf, and dumb yet managed to lead attend four years at Perkins School for the Blind. She then spent one year at Cambridge school to prepare for Radcliff College. In 1904 Helen graduated Radcliff cum laude and became the first deafblindness person to earn a bachelor's degree.

Aides Available for the Blind

In 1931, the Perkins Braille Talking Book was created. By 1977, the book was produced and shipped worldwide to over 67 countries. In conjunction with the Helen Keller National Center (HKNC) and the Federal Communications Center (FCC), a nationwide outreach program for the National Department of the Blind Distribution Program (NDBEDP) to distribute accessible communication technology under the program connect and inform the one million afflicted people about the equipment available free of charge. To learn more about this program, call 1-800-825-4595.

Today, there are many products to help the blind, hard of hearing, and disabled available. Some of these include talking watches, clocks, and even talking cell phones. Nobody needs to be in the dark anymore. There are braille computer terminals and a robo email service available.

We are all familiar with the White Cane. The cane is not just a tool but a symbol for the blind. With it, they can be mobile and independent. In 1930 the very first Ordinance was in Peoria, Illinois granting blind pedestrians the right-of-way on the city streets. Other states soon followed, and the president signed into law making October 15th as the official White Cane Day.

White Cane Day

White Cane Day
White Cane Day
White Can Aid
White Can Aid

Braille Clocks and Aids for the Blind

Braille Clocks
Braille Clocks
Braille Talking Watch
Braille Talking Watch

Braille Communty

There are over 3.4 million Americans 40 years or older, either blind, considered legally blind, or hard of hearing. Doctors are working on a cure for some types of blindness and are hopeful using stem cell surgery to someday making it as common as cataract surgery.

Some Notables That Are Blind

Here are just a few notable people that are blind:

Louis Braille, Helen Keller, Harriet Tubman, Homer, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Joseph Pulitzer, and Ronnie Milsap.

It is because of a tragic accident that happened to Louis Braille and his invention that thousands can now "see" and are learning to be independent. Braille didn't live long enough to see the impact he made on thousands of blind persons.

Today, there are many schools for the blind or deaf offering help to them. The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a program to help those in need.


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • powers41 profile imageAUTHOR

      fran rooks 

      17 months ago from Toledo, Ohio

      Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      17 months ago from UK

      This is a very interesting and well-researched article. I knew of braille and even noticed it on the wall of a hotel corridor recently, but I did not know about its origins.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://corp.maven.io/privacy-policy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)