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Early languages for the blind

Braille was not the only method of reading and writing for the visually impaired. Its appearance is the result of the historical development of languages for the blind.

The first to realize that the blind are able to perceive the letter using the sense of touch was Valentin Howie. One day while visiting a fair, he gave alms to a blind boy who confidently named denomination of the coins. As a result, that boy became the first pupil of Valentin Howie. After 6 months, the boy was able to read the entire printed pages with the help of touch. Howe introduced his talented student to the Royal Academy, where all were amazed by his skill. Thus the relief-line font was invented.

James Gol was the successor of Valentin Howie. In 1831, he introduced the use of a convex corner font. For some time it was used in a shelter for the blind. A little bit later Alston from Edinburgh developed a font, which was based on the Latin alphabet. It is very similar to a modern computer font Arial. Later, in 1838, Lucas offered the so-called «squiggles», a kind of shorthand. The letters were lines with a point on one end or without. But the system was not used in practice.

At the beginning of 20th century a system of doctor Moon was used, in which the basic forms of the Latin alphabet were saved. However, despite all the advantages, all above mentioned methods had similar shortcomings, namely the high cost of books’ production and a lot of time spent reading.