‘Braille’ is one of those eponyms that has become so familiar it no longer registers as a proper name. L’écriture Braille
was the invention of Louis Braille (1809–1852), the son of a blacksmith.
He lost his vision at the age of three after an injury to his left eye led to infection which,
spreading to his right, deprived him of both.
The Braille script was an adaptation of a system invented by Charles Barbier to allow soldiers to communicate silently at night. Louis Braille, then thirteen years old and studying at the Institut Royale des Jeunes Aveugles, reduced the number of dots from 12 to 6 and later added codes for mathematical and musical notation.
On Braille’s birthday (4 January), Google honored him by transcribing its logo into Braille.
Ceux qui augmente le bonheur de la vie humaine méritent une niche dans le Panthéon de l’histoire. Ceux qui le diminue méritent seulement l’oubli. Pas même l’opprobrium, qui est quand même survie, mais simplement l’oubli, permanent et total.
. Vivre sans voir. Les aveugles dans la société française du Moyen Age au siècle de Louis Braille
. Préface d’Alain Corbin. Paris: Créaphis, 2003.