Louis Braille began to develop his system of raised dots for the blind when he was only 12 years old and published his first braille book when he was 15, reports the American Foundation for the Blind. He was inspired to invent this alphabet when his school was visited by Charles Barbier, who showed the students a code made of raised dots that was used by soldiers.Continue Reading
This code originally had 12 dots and was hard for soldiers to learn, the AFB explains, but Braille simplified it to six dots. His system was not formally taught in schools until after his death in 1852, and blind students had to learn it privately. Braille became widespread after 1868, when the Royal National Institute for the Blind, a British institution, adopted it.
Braille was born on Jan. 4, 1809 in Coupvray, a town near Paris, according to the AFB. He was not born blind but injured his eye while playing with one of his father's workshop tools. His eye became infected, and then the infection spread to the other eye until eventually it too was blind. He enrolled at the Royal Institution for Blind Youth in Paris when he was 10 and even taught there after he graduated; however, he did not teach braille.Learn more about Conditions & Diseases