Hometown/Residence: Des Moines, Iowa
Iowa Department for the Blind has several texts produced in alternative media designed for the blind. Prior to the adoption of Braille as the standard tactile system for reading and writing, a number of methods were used to make print accessible to blind persons, such as embossed type, Moon type, and New York Point. The Department's collection has a sampling of embossed type, New York Point, raised line illustrations, and Braille documents.
A host of mechanical devices have been developed to give blind and visually impaired persons access to print or visual information. The examples below show how these mechanical devices have advanced to allow for faster and independent access to information.
Numerous types of slate and styli have been developed by blind persons around the world to accomodate their language or needs. Although each slate is used to write Braille, some have a unique look and feel. Slates have been made out of aluminum, brass, plastic, and wood. The sizes of slates can vary greatly. Many slates are small enough to fit in a pocket; some are the size of a standard 8.5 by 11 inch sheet of paper. Specialty slates have also been developed for use with index cards and playing cards.
These books are designed for sighted and blind users to read together. They are especially good for reading aloud. A large portion of the collection consists of books that were donated by the Telephone Pioneers. They are mainly shelved in a reading room that was funded by the Charles City, Iowa Lions.
New York Point Example
American Braille Press
22 Lines, 23 Cells
This slate is a 5" x 10" metal board with hinged slate and two line movable track or guide.
This slate uses regular adding machine paper, a plastic slate, and a magnetized stylus. The Braille is "micro", very small six-dot cells, with an unnotched guide.
9 Lines, 28 Cells
Used for English Braille. Unnotched upper guide and squared dots. Required a sharp stylus, and wrote very close lines and letters.