Dots instead of lines: listen to the amazing story of a 12yo blind genius by the name Louis Braille
This is our new favorite podcast of the week. Produced by Andrew Leland for 99% Invisible, episode 360 of the Universal Page podcast is a magnificent narration to the world of Braille system and the War of the Dots that happened almost a century ago.
“I’m going blind really, really slowly. Right now it’s like I’ve got a foot in both worlds, blind and sighted. I have a degenerative retinal disease that’s given me severe tunnel vision, so basically no peripheral vision. It’s like I’m peering at the world through a toilet paper tube. One that gets a little narrower every few months” says Andrew Leland in the introduction to his episode on the revolutionary Braille system that changed humanity for the good.
The story starts in 1771 when the skilled linguist Valentin Haüy decided to help the blind “when he saw a group of blind people being mocked during a street festival in Paris.”
From Haüy's first known school for the blind, The Royal Institute in Paris through Napoleon's captain who had invented what he called “nocturnal writing” to the 12-year-old blind student named Louis Braille who adapted that military code for blind people as an alternative to raised print or the decisive battle in the War of the Dots this insightful podcast on how a genius blind student made the world a better and humane place through type is a must.
The young Louis Braille substituted the 12 dot system developed by Napoleon's captain into a six-dot system and maximized its efficiency allowing blind people to read and write, eventually to take control of their lives at last.
Do yourself a favor, listen to the podcast here.
Last but not least remember: always read the plaque!
Cover image credit: Flickr user Rolanddme via CC