History of Braillewriters
by Carmen Willings
Are you fascinated by braille or braillewriters or just have a love of braille? Learn more about the history of the braillewriter, or better yet, visit them at the APH Museum in Louisville, KY! I had the privilege of seeing the War of Dots and Braillewriters traveling exhibits from the American Printing House for the Blind during the GVEST (Georgia Vision Educators Statewide Training) conference in 2013. I love the braille code and absolutely loved seeing the various models of braillewriters! If you appreciate braille as I do, make a point of visiting this traveling exhibit! The following information on braillewriters was taken from APH's museum information. You can read more about these braillewriters at APH's website.
The Hall braillewriter, invented by Frank Haven Hall, was modeled on the typewriter and introduced on May 27, 1892 in Jacksonville, Illinois. The keys almost resemble that of a piano keyboard.
The Picht braillewriter was invented by Oscar Picht in Bromberg, Germany in 1899. The machine used 9" wide paper that was fed on a wooden drum. The keys were made of wood with metal dots indicating the dot position on the front of each key. This is truly a beautiful braillewriter!
Early Perkins Braillewriter
The old version of the Perkins Braillewriter, made in 1900, had more of a rounded front but was similar in style to the Hall braillewriter.
Banks Pocket Writer
The Banks Pocket Braillewriter, produced in 1928 by IBM, used 1/2" wide tape and was made available through Lions Clubs.
The Foundation Braillewriter was developed by the American Foundation for the Blind in an experimental shop in 1932. The entire braillewriter is constructed of polished stainless steel.
Atkinson Portable Braillewriter
The Atkinson Portable Braillewriter, produced in 1945, was designed so that the paper would remain flat during the brailling process. The braillewriter features a paper table that moves under the stationary embossing head.
The Light Brailler, created in Japan, operated very differently then most braillewriters. It moved sideways across the paper as braille was written. The brailler was produced around 1950.
The Lavender Braillewriter was made of high impact resistant plastic and was designed to be compact and featured rectangular keys. This model was discontinued as it tended to warp over time. It was produced between 1962 and 1982 and its design reflects that era!
New Hall Braillewriter
The New Hall Braillewriter, produced between 1940 and 1972, was a modern version of the classic Hall braillewriter and was designed to be more rugged, light and simple.
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