Braille for Text Books, Menus, Sheet Music, Maps, and Much
Increase Print Size:
Story of Braille
At one time, not all that long
ago, people thought that the only way to read was to
look at words with your eyes.
A French youngster names Louis
Braille believed otherwise. Louis, was blind from the
age of three but wanted desperately to learn to read.
Braille was born on January 4, 1809 in rural France in
the town of Coupvray, between the Brie region and the
Champagne district near Paris. Louis' father was a
leather smith, making horse harnesses and other goods
and often used sharp leatherworking tools to cut and
punch holes in the leather. One of the tools he used
is called an awl, which looks like a pointed stick
with a round wooden handle.
While playing with one of his
father's awls Louis' hand slipped and he accidentally
poked himself in the eye.
first this didn't seem like too serious of an accident
but later it became infected and the infection spread
to both eyes, resulting
in loss of sight in both.
As time passed Louis leaned to adapt and to lead what
would be an otherwise normal existence, going to
school with his friends and doing well in his studies.
Louis was creative and intelligent and not about to
let his disability compromise him. As he grew older he
realized that the small school he attended was
under-financed to provide the resources he needed to
gain an adequate education. He had heard of a school
in Paris specifically for sightless students and, at
the age of ten, left for Paris to gain the quality
education he desired.
Arriving at the special school
Louis inquired about books for blind students and
found that they did have books, fourteen of them to be
exact. They were constructed of large, raised letters
which resulted in them being large and bulky and also
After reading all of the
fourteen books, a time-consuming and tedious process,
he knew that there must be a more effective, efficient
way for a blind person to read words on a page as
quickly as a sighted person. That very day he set a
goal for himself of devising an alphabet code that
would allow "finger reading" to be as quick
and easy as sighted reading.
Louis, being a tremendously
talented and creative person, had learned to play
piano and organ at a young age. He was, at that time,
playing the organ in churches all over Paris and music
had become a fairly steady source of income. His
musical talents had shown
he could accomplish pretty much anything he set his
mind to if given the chance. One day that chance
In 1821, French army
Captain Charles Barbier de la Serre visited the
institute and spoke about his invention called
"Night Writing", or "sonography",
consisting of an alphabet code that was being used by
the soldiers of the French army. It was used to
deliver messages at night from officers to the
soldiers, devised because typical written words
would've demanded lighting a match to read, which
would give away their positions to
The code was made up of small
dashes and dots, raised up off the paper and read by
running their fingers over them. Once the soldiers had
learned the code they could read their commanders'
orders. Louis got his hands on some of the code and
found that it was much more effective than reading the
huge books with the large raised letters. Better, but
still awkward and slow. The dashes took up too much
space on each page, allowing only a couple of
sentences per page, and Louis knew that he could
improve on the method. He liked the concept of the
raised dots but knew that, to be effective, he needed
to find a way to do away with the dashes.
One day, at home with his
parents on a school holiday, he sat in his father's
leatherworking shop and picked up one of the blunt
awls. The concept came to him. The very object that
had caused his blindness could be utilized to make a
raised dot on paper that would allow him, once again,
to read. Over a period of a few days he devised an
alphabet constructed entirely of six dots in different
configurations, the position of each dot determining
the letter of the alphabet it represented.
With the awl he punched out
sentences on paper that could be quickly read with the
fingers and with that came the birth of the Braille
Louis Braille died on January
6, 1852 and is buried in the Pantheon in France as a
French National Hero.
Braille Service, Inc. is your one-stop source for braille
books, braille music, Nemeth math braille, braille sheet
music, braille transcription and braille translation. We
inventory a large selection of braille publications and are
proud to be of service to the blind and vision impaired
find your page quickly, select it from the drop list below.