6 dots by Louis Braille

On January 4, 1809 Louis Braille was born in a village Coupvray, approximately 25 kilometres away from Paris in France. His father was a famous harness maker in the area. Louis also used to play with the tools in the shop. At the age of 3, while playing with one of the sharp tools it slipped from Louis’s hand and hurt his left eye. Since Coupvray was a village there was no doctor. Louis parents took him to a woman in the village who used to treat with herbal medicine. This made Louis’s injured eye infected and soon the infection spread to the other eye. Due to the infection Louis became blind.

While Louis was studying at Royal Institute for Blind Youth Paris, a retired French army captain, Charles Barbier, visited the school. He has invented a method for the soldiers to send information to each other without the use of light and without talking. With a pointed tool, the captain punched dots and dashes into heavy paper called “Night writing”. The dots and dashes represented different sounds. These marks were combined to form words and could be read without light or sound. But the soldiers found it too difficult to use. The captain thought blind students might be able to use it instead. Even the blind students also found it difficult to use but was better than the earlier method of embossing each alphabet used by them.

Braille Slate

Louis was excited by the process and wants to make it simple. He worked late nights on simplifying the process with a pointing tool called stylus and a wooden pad with a paper. He added numbers and punctuation to the existing alphabets. When he was 15 he created a new code which was easier to read and write.

In 1834, Louis demonstrated his dot alphabet at the Exhibition of Industry held in Paris. All sorts of inventions were shown there. The first book in Braille was published in 1827. Later many books were published in various languages. He died in Paris in 1852.

Two years later, in 1954 the French government approved the dot system. It was called “Braille””. In 1878, the World Congress for the Blind voted to make Braille the system of reading and writing for all blind people worldwide. With the help of the United Nations, Braille has been adapted to almost every known language.

Louis Braille invention helped many blind individuals to read and write independently. Remembering his birthday January 4th is celebrated as world Braille day. Happy World Braille day to all my readers.

(Updated January 4th, 2019)

 

World Braille Day – January 4th

United Nations recognized World Braille Day on January 4th. January 4th, 2019 is the first ever world braille day.

According to UN, “World Braille Day is observed in order to raise awareness of the importance of braille as a means of communication in the full realization of the human rights for blind and partially sighted people”.

Read more about the World braille day on UN website.

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