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Louis Braille 1809 - 1852.

Louis Braille is today regarded and respected as the greatest benefactor of blind people.

Louis was born on the 4th January, 1809 in a French Village not far from Paris, called Coupvray. At the age of three, while playing in his fathers workshop he injured his eye. Infection set in and this quickly spread to the other eye. He became totally blind. While in school he proved to be a gifted student. While doing his normal studies he became interested in developing an alphabet for blind people. In 1924, at the age of fifteen he invented a system of touch writing and reading for the blind. This system was eventually to bear his name.

The foundation for his invention was laid by an artillery captain in the army of Louis XV111, Charles Barbier de la Sere. He designed a system of raised dots and dashes for night writing to be used by soldiers on night manoeuvres. A group in favour of making braille the official international system for reading and writing for blind people met in Paris in 1878. In 1918, the United States of America realised that braille was more superior than other methods. In 1922 an agreement was reached which is known today as Standard English Braille.

Louis Braille's health started deteriorating at the age of 26 when he contacted tuberculosis, for which there was no cure at the time. In December 1851 he became very ill from which he never recovered. He died on the 6th January, 1852. he was buried at the village of his birth Coupvray. One century later in 1952 he was reburied in Pantheon. This is the highest honour that France bestows on its citizens.

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