Saturday, June 2, 2012


I found these old sheets of Braille at a flea market in Sharbot Lake this weekend:

The guy who operates the flea market is a very interesting character, and simply gives away any books he comes by because he has discovered that no one buys books anymore, and he can't bear to take them to a landfill site.  So, I loaded up (filled both of the motorcycle's saddlebags, and many new pics will be appearing on this blog as a result!)

The history of Braille is fascinating, representing a unique historical intersection of a young man, Louis Braille (who lost the use of one eye at age 3 while playing with his saddlemaker father's tools, and then lost his sight completely to infection) and Charles Barbier de la Serre, an artilleryman who had developed a dot-and-dash writing system called "night writing" that could be used to communicate information without the use of a light (which could betray the position of a gun to the enemy).  Braille eventually improved this system, basing it on a six-dot cell, and unveiling it in October 1824 when he was just 15 years old.  The rest is history.  (Read the full fascinating story at How Braille Began.)

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