TUESDAY TRIVIA: From What Did Braille Originate?

Braille is the universally adopted system of reading and writing used for blind people.

The Braille system of reading and writing for blind persons that we know today was invented by Louis Braille, who was blinded at the age of three, and refined over the years by experts. But, Louis Braille didn’t start from scratch.

While at the school for the blind in Paris, he learned of a system of tangible writing using dots that was developed several years earlier by Charles Barbier. Some sources say Barbier developed the system in response to Napoleon Bonaparte’s request for a means for soldiers to communicate silently at night.

Barbier’s system used a set of 12 dots that represented sounds, but Braille encountered problems with reading the code. He revised it to a system using 6-dot cells that represented letters of the French alphabet.

According to Britannica, Braille’s system was immediately accepted and used by his fellow students, but wider acceptance was slower. The system was not officially adopted by the school in Paris until 1854, two years after Braille’s death.

A universal Braille code for the English-speaking world was adopted in 1932, when representatives from agencies for the blind in Great Britain and the United States met in London and agreed upon a system known as Standard English Braille, grade 2. In 1957 Anglo-American experts again met in London to further improve the system.

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