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Louis Braille
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Inventor
    (January 4, 1809-January 6, 1852)
    Born in Paris, France
    Inventor of braille, the system used for reading and writing by the blind and visually impaired
    Published the book 'Method of Writing Words, Music, and Plain Songs by Means of Dots, for Use by the Blind and Arranged for Them' (1829)
    Died of tuberculosis in Paris at age 43
    He lost his sight at age three fooling around with his father's stitching awl, poking himself in the eye, where it became infected and spread to his other eye.
    His braille system was merely a simplification of a code developed by Charles Barbier, a captain in the French army, called sonography (aka 'night writing').
    That book he published has a 21 word title.
    His braille system was not officially recognized or used in France until two years after his death.
    Learning and excelling in school just by listening to teachers, he was given a scholarship to the Royal Institution for Blind Youth in Paris at age 10.
    He became a classically trained pianist and organist.
    The school had just 14 raised-print textbooks, which he quickly read and which made him think about ways of improving the system.
    After Capt. Barbier visited the school in 1821, he took the system he learned from him, a complex coding of 12 dots and several dashes, and developed it into the six raised dot system that is still in use today.
    He became a well-honored teacher at the Institute, but the air at the establishment aggravated his tuberculosis, and he died without seeing the long reaching impact of his invention.
    Braille has now been translated to nearly every language on the planet, forever giving the blind a way to read and write.
    Helen Keller quoted, 'We the blind are as indebted to Louis Braille as mankind is to Gutenberg . . . Without a dot system what a chaotic, inadequate affair our education would be.'
    In 1952 (the century of his death), his remains were moved to the famed Panthéon, where he lies with such other notable French citizens as Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Louis Pasteur and Madame Marie Curie.

Credit: Scar Tactics


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