-Interesting story of Louis Braille
Blinded as a 3-year-old boy, Louis Braille went on to become a renowned French educator in the 19th century, developing the famous Braille system that’s still used today.
Millions of people around the world use Braille to read and write. But before Braille, visually impaired people struggled to learn complicated systems that had major drawbacks. Until a 19th-century French teenager named Louis Braille changed everything.
Who was Louis Braille, the person who invented the Braille system?
Born with sight, Louis Braille became blind at 3 years old. And as a teenager, he created a revolutionary system of reading and writing for the visually impaired.but Louis Braille’s battle didn’t end when he created Braille. First, he had to convince Paris’s Royal Institute for Blind Children to adopt his system.
Who Was Louis Braille?
Born in 1809 in a small village outside Paris, Louis Braille was named after the king of France. Braille’s mother and father, a saddle and harness maker, gave all four of their children royal names.when he was 3 years old, an accident in the family workshop left young Louis blind. The boy had been playing with an awl, a tool to punch holes in leather, when he injured one eye. An infection spread to both eyes and took Braille’s sight.
At 10, Braille left home for the Royal Institute for Blind Youth in Paris. He received a scholarship to study at the school, where he learned Greek and Latin while working on his algebra skills.
The institute had few resources for its students. They learned the shape of letters using twigs, and some nights went to bed hungry.Louis Braille thrived at the institute, however. He even joined the school orchestra, where he excelled in playing the cello and organ.His education there helped Braille invent a revolutionary communication system for the visually impaired.
Night Writing And Other Ways To Read By Touch
Braille wasn’t the first writing system for the blind. In fact, Louis Braille based his system on something called “night writing.”
Developed by Charles Barbier, night writing was meant to give France an edge in the Napoleonic Wars. Thanks to Barbier’s system of raised dots, officers could read messages on the front lines even at night.
Barbier’s system also had predecessors. As early as the 1600s, blind students learned their letters by touch. Educators carved the alphabet into wood and students learned to draw them. But the system did not help with reading.
In the 1760s, Melanie de Salignac learned to read by feeling pinpricks made in paper. She used a similar system to write. The Viennese pianist Maria Theresa von Paradis also read by touch. But costly pinprick methods were largely restricted to the wealthy.
Von Paradis inspired Valentin Haüy to open the first school for the blind in 1786. Haüy used an embossed alphabet to instruct students. But the breakthrough would come thanks to a young student at Haüy’s school: Louis Braille.
The Invention Of The Braille System
In 1821, Charles Barbier visited the Royal Institute for Blind Youth. He spoke to the students about night writing, which used 12 dots. And Louis Braille was in the audience.
Louis Braille created a communication system that transformed life for millions. Next, read about the invention of the telegraph, and then learn about Blind Tom Wiggins, the highest-paid musician in the 19th century.