Writing Devices for the Blind Collection

Samuel P. Hayes Research Library
Perkins School for the Blind
175 N. Beacon Street
Watertown, MA 02472


Perkins School for the Blind

Date Range: 
Circa 1880 to 1921, bulk 1900 to 1920
Call number: 

Collection of writing tools used by the blind or visually impaired, circa 1880 to 1921. These tools include writing guides and frames, as well as a German braille writer. A digital exhibit of this entire collection is available on Flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/perkinsarchive/albums/72157669667211290.

11 boxes (3.5 linear feet)
English and German
Processed by: 

Jen Hale, 2016

Biographical/Historical notes: 

Writing frames and guides are tools designed for aiding in handwriting without sight. They often hold paper in place and provide guides for writing in straight lines with equal spacing. Some guides, such as the C. G. Hill's Writing Guide in this collection, use three dimensional ridges to create tactile lines. The Automatic Writer featured in this collection was designed for use  in the dark or low light, those who are unable to write sitting up, and those who are blind. The O.C. Frost Device to Facilitate Writing by the Blind is an example of one designed specifically for use by the blind. 

Sources of information: 

Frost, O.C. “Device to Facilitate Writing by the Blind.” Patent 980,623. 3 January 1911. Google Patents. Web. Accessed 7 October 2016.

“Writing without Sight.” Advertisement in The Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology, vol. 10, 1901, Google Books. Web. Accessed 7 October 2016.

Credit line/Citation: 
Writing Devices for the Blind Collection, Perkins School for the Blind

This collection provides samples, many in mint condition, of several writing tools used by those who are blind and visually impaired, circa 1880 to 1921. The collection includes a braille typewriter, and several writing guides and frames, including a pin-type board with pin-type pieces.  


2 Series, 12 boxes, each device boxed separately.
Series 1: Writing Guides and Slates, circa 1880-1921
Series 2: Braille Writer Machine, circa 1900

Container List: 

Series 1: Writing Guides and Slates, circa 1880-1921

​B1: C. G. Hill’s Writing Guide, undated

B2: Pin-type board, undated [see box 3 for lid and guide]

B3: Pin-type board lid and guide, undated [see box 2 for board]

B4: Spencerian writing guide, undated

B5: Writing guide for round hand, undated

B6: Writing frame for Hebold writing, circa 1880

B7: The Automatic Writer writing guide, circa 1897

B8: Orin C. Frost writing guide, circa 1911

B9: Rhoad's writing guide, circa 1911

B10: A.E. Tremaine writing guide, circa 1917

B11: P.J. Doody writing guide, circa 1921

Series 2: Braillewriter Machine, circa 1900
B12: Picht Steglitz braillewriter, circa 1900  

Subject Headings: 

Blind -- Printing and writing systems.

Perkins School for the Blind.
Perkins School for the Blind--History.