Tactile alphabets for the blind

Tactile alphabets for the blind

A number of systems have been devised for writing material that the blind can read by touch. While currently the Braille system is the most popular and some materials have been prepared in Moon type, historically there have been a large number of others:

*Systems based on embossed Roman letters:
**Valentin Haüy's system, based on embossed Roman characters (in italic style)
**James Gall's "triangular alphabet," using both capital and lower-case Roman letters, which was used in 1826 in the first embossed books published in English
**Edmund Frye's system (based on capital letters only)
**John Alston's system (also based on capital letters only)
**Jacob Snider, Jr.'s system, using rounded letters similar to Haüy's system, which was used in a publication of the Gospel of Mark in 1834, the first embossed book in the United States.
**Samuel G. Howe's Boston Line using lowercase angulat letters, influenced by Gall's system but more closely resembling standard Roman letters
**Julius Friedlander's Philadelphia Line, using all capital letters, similar to Alston's system, used at the Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
**William Chapin (also at the Pennsylvania Institution)'s system, combining the lowercase letters of the Boston Line with the capitals of the Philadelphia Line, forming the "combined system" (used by 1868 in books printed by N. B. Kneass, Jr.)
*Systems based on arbitrary symbols:
**Thomas Lucas' system, based on shorthand and the phonetic principle
**James Hatley Frere's system, similar to Lucas' in that it was based on shorthand, but written in a boustrophedon manner
**New York Point, a system of points invented by William Bell Wait, that competed with braille for some time before braille won out

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