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point alphabet

New York Point

New York Point is a system of writing for the blind invented by William Bell Wait (1839-1916), a teacher in the New York Institute for the Education of the Blind. The system used three bases of equidistant points arranged in two horizontal lines with one, two, three or four points in each line (: :: ::: or :::: ). The most common letters are assigned to the configurations with the fewest points.

New York Point competed with the American Braille system, which employed the Braille base (an array of points 2 wide by 3 high). Embossed alphabets are relatively bulky, and New York Point's system of only two horizontal lines and principle of assigning common letters to characters with the fewest points were seen as advantages.

Wait advocated the New York System as more logical than either the American Braille or the British Braille systems, and these systems competed in what was known as the War of the Dots. Around 1916, writing was standardized to a system more closely corresponding to British Braille, chiefly because of the large amount of written material available in that system.

Wait also invented the Kleidograph, a typewriter with twelve keys, for embossing the New York Point system on paper, and the Stereograph, for creating metal plates to be used in printing books for the blind.

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