andy/ May 28, 2021/ braille

Accessible Pharmacy Services for the Blind is able to package medication using braille labels.  Items that can be labeled in braille include:

  • Prescription medication
  • OTC medication
  • Eye drops
  • Insulin
  • Vitamins
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Guide dog & companion-pet medication
  • Home COVID testing


Louis Braille Bust Statue

Who was Louis Braille and how did he create the Braille that we use today? Braille was determined to invent a system of reading and writing that could bridge the gap in communication between the sighted and the blind. In his own words: “Access to communication in the widest sense is access to knowledge, and that is vitally important for us if we [the blind] are not to go on being despised or patronized by condescending sighted people. We do not need pity, nor do we need to be reminded we are vulnerable. We must be treated as equals – and communication is the way this can be brought about”

In 1821, Braille learned of a communication system devised by Captain Charles Barbier of the French Army. Some sources depict Braille learning about it from a newspaper account read to him by a friend, while others say the officer, aware of its potential, made a special visit to the school. In either case, Barbier willingly shared his invention called “night writing” which was a code of dots and dashes impressed into thick paper. These impressions could be interpreted entirely by the fingers, letting soldiers share information on the battlefield without having light or needing to speak. The captain’s code turned out to be too complex to use in its original military form, but it inspired Braille to develop a system of his own.

Braille worked tirelessly on his ideas, and his system was largely completed by 1824, when he was fifteen years old. From Barbier’s night writing, he innovated by simplifying its form and maximizing its efficiency. He made uniform columns for each letter, and he reduced the twelve raised dots to six. He published his system in 1829, and by the second edition in 1837 he had discarded the dashes because they were too difficult to read. Crucially, Braille’s smaller cells were capable of being recognized as letters with a single touch of a finger.

Braille created his own raised-dot system by using an awl, the same kind of implement which had blinded him. In the process of designing his system, he also designed an ergonomic interface for using it, based on Barbier’s own slate and stylus tools. By soldering two metal strips across the slate, he created a secure area for the stylus which would keep the lines straight and readable.

By these modest means, Braille constructed a robust communication system. “It bears the stamp of genius” wrote Dr. Richard Slating French, former director of the California School for the Blind, “like the Roman alphabet itself”.

Musical adaptation
The system was soon extended to include braille musical notation. Passionate about his own music, Braille took meticulous care in its planning to ensure that the musical code would be “flexible enough to meet the unique requirements of any instrument”. In 1829, he published the first book about his system, Method of Writing Words, Music, and Plain Songs by Means of Dots, for Use by the Blind and Arranged for Them. Ironically this book was first printed by the raised letter method of the Haüy system.

Braille produced several written works about braille and as general education for the blind. Method of Writing Words, Music, and Plain Songs… (1829) was revised and republished in 1837; his mathematics guide, Little Synopsis of Arithmetic for Beginners, entered use in 1838;[29] and his monograph New Method for Representing by Dots the Form of Letters, Maps, Geometric Figures, Musical Symbols, etc., for Use by the Blind was first published in 1839. Many of Braille’s original printed works remain available at the Braille birthplace museum in Coupvray.

New Method for Representing by Dots… (1839) put forth Braille’s plan for a new writing system with which blind people could write letters that could be read by sighted people.[32] Called decapoint, the system combined his method of dot-punching with a new specialized grill which Braille devised to overlay the paper. When used with an associated number table (also designed by Braille and requiring memorization), the grill could permit a blind writer to faithfully reproduce the standard alphabet.

After the introduction of decapoint, Braille gave assistance to his friend Pierre-François-Victor Foucault, who was working on the development of his Raphigraphe, a device that could emboss letters in the manner of a typewriter. Foucault’s machine was hailed as a great success and was exhibited at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1855.

To read more detailed information regarding the information above about Louis Braille, go to:

To learn more about Accessible Pharmacy’s Braille offerings, go to:

Share this Post