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Louis Braille

Inventor / Educator

Born: 4 January 1809
Died: 6 January 1852
Birthplace: Coupvray, France
Best known as:

Inventor of the raised-point writing system for the blind

Louis Braille was a French musician and educator who developed the now-famous raised-point writing system for the blind that bears his name. Braille became blind as a result of an eye injury at the age of three. Despite his impairment, he went to a regular school, then earned acceptance to a state school for the blind. By the time he was 15 years old he had perfected a system of embossed dots that could be used to translate text through the sense of touch. He first published his system in 1829, but it wasn't until the last years of his life that it became to be widely accepted. A musician and teacher of the blind, Braille suffered bouts of ill health throughout most of his adult life, probably because of tuberculosis. After his death the "braille" system was promoted by his former students and friends, and by 1854 his home nation of France had officially adopted it. It spread internationally and is now the most widely-used system for teaching the written word to the blind.

Extra credit:

Another system of reading by touch was developed in the 19th century by the English clergyman William Moon.

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