Louis Braille is a famous educator that is known for creating Braille. This is a system that is used by the blind. Braille code allows those with vision loss to still read and write despite not having any sight. It continues to be used around the globe today. He spent most of his life creating and use the system, sharing his invention with others in France and eventually, around the world. He was born in 1809 in Coupvray France and dedicated his life to education until his death in 1852.
Let’s take a closer look at eight interesting facts about Louis Braille.
Louis Braille Facts
1. Louis Braille was blind in both eyes the time he was five years old.
Unfortunately, an accident when Louis Braille was a young boy led to him losing sight in both of his eyes. When he was young, he would play in his father’s workshop. He was a village saddler. When Louis was three years old, he was playing with some of the tools in the workshop. He was playing with a tool that is used to make holes in leather. This stuck him in one of his eyes. The infection spread to his other eye and he was blind in both eyes two years later when he was five years old.
2. He was taught a hard way to read and write that few students could master.
From a young age, Louis Braille attended the Royal Institution for Blind Youth situated in Paris, France. An interesting fact about Louis Braille is that he was awarded this scholarship due to his impressive education, and this was one of the very first schools in the world for blind children. He and other students were taught to read by tracing letters in raised print using their fingers. This was a difficult skill to master and not a lot of students were able to do it successfully. In order to write, students had to memorize the letters and their shapes. They then had to try to re-create them on paper. Of course, without the ability to see, this will incredibly hard.
3. He was inspired by Captain Charles Barbier and his ‘night writing’ invention.
It was at the Royal Institution for Blind Youth that he learned from Captain Charles Barbier of the French Army. He shared his ‘night writing’, which was a way soldiers communicated without having to speak on the battlefield. It consisted of dots and dashes, and this system was very complicated. But it inspired Louis Braille to find a new way to communicate. Indeed, by the time he was 15 years old, he simplified ‘night writing’. This included changing 12 dots into six.
4. Louis finally created his own Braille system in 1824.
After spending two years working incredibly hard on his own Braille system, he was finally finished by 1824. He simplified what he had seen from Captain Charles Barbier, as well as replacing the embossed letters for dots. He had spent all of his free time trying to find this system that was simple and quick to use. Louis used a stylus and wooden writing board with paper to test it out. In order to read Braille, someone must move the hands from left to right along each line.
Once he was done, Louis Braille brought his system to the director at the Royal Institution for Blind Youth. The director read a newspaper and Louis had to write down what he was saying. He did this using his stylus and wooden writing board with paper. He was able to read back all of the words to the director with the raised dots he had created. This was impressive to the director.
Later on, Louis Braille when on to adapt his method for music and mathematics, an interesting fact about Braille. He published his first book on Braille in 1829. It was called ‘Method of Writing Words, Music, and Plain Songs by Means of Dots, for Use by the Blind and Arranged for Them’.
5. Louis Braille became a teacher at the Royal Institution for Blind Youth.
One thing about Louis Braille that everyone knew was that he was highly intelligent. He was a fantastic student that excelled, no matter what he was doing, despite not being able to see. Once he had completed the curriculum, Louis Braille was invited back as a teacher’s aide. He was awarded a full professorship by 1833. Indeed, due to her academic calibre, he stated at the Royal Institution for Blind Youth as a professor and students enjoyed his classes. He taught history, geometry and algebra.
6. He attended the Exhibition of Industry in 1834 to show his dot alphabet.
Louis Braille decided to take his code to the Exhibition of Industry in 1834. This was somewhere all inventions should be shown off to the public. He demonstrated his alphabet by taking notes when people spoke. He was then able read them back. It is believed that the French king was there and saw Louis Braille in action. However, he did not choose to make Braille the language for the blind despite its success.
7. Braille’s System was finally recognised by the Royal Institution for Blind Youth in 1854.
Even though Louis Braille had taught at the Royal Institution for Blind Youth, his system was not used as part of the curriculum. The public were not sure about the successful of his system. However, this all changed in 1854. This was the year that his system was included into the curriculum after demands from pupils, an interesting fact about Louis Braille. Since he died in 1852, he was not alive to see this accomplishment.
8. From 1878, Braille Code was used around the world in different countries.
Despite the many languages of the world, Braille has been adapted so that everyone who is blind can use it and communicate. It was decided in 1878 that Braille would be the system that would be adopted for blind people worldwide. This was decided by the World Congress for the Blind. In addition, the United Nations helped adapt Braille for all languages.
I hope that this article on Louis Braille facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Historical People Facts Page!