Celebrating World Braille Day

a handrail embossed in braille which includes a poetic description of a sweeping view of the Italian City of Napoli

"Follow the Shape" by Paolo Puddu, a braille art installation that provides a poetic description of Napoli from the top of Castle Saint Elmo.

January 4, 2021

International World Braille Day is celebrated yearly in recognition of the birth of Louis Braille, born on January 4th, 1809. World Braille Day was created in 2019 by the United Nations General Assembly and serves as the commencement event for Braille Literacy Month, an event throughout January that aims to raise awareness about the importance of braille and braille literacy. While braille is most frequently recognized as a reading medium for individuals who are totally blind, many individuals benefit from braille and the access it provides. This includes individuals with visual impairments, severe disabilities, and individuals with dual sensory loss. 

 In honor of these events, check out our 6 fun facts about braille! 

  1. Braille is used in nearly every country in the world, and there is a braille code for almost every language. 

  2. The inventor of braille has an interesting story. At the age of 3, Louis Braille punctured his eye with an awl, or leather embosser, leading to a severe infection that eventually caused him to lose his vision in both eyes. Ironically, an awl is similar to the stylus, a tool used today to emboss braille by hand. 

  3. Braille can be typed in many different ways. It can be embossed with a slate and styles, which is largely considered as braille handwriting, or it can be printed with the use of a braille typewriter. 

  4. Castle Sant’Elmo, a popular tourist attraction, not only offers a sweeping view of the Italian city of Napoli from the top. The fortress is home to an art installation by Paolo Puddu titled “Follow the Shape”, a handrail embossed in braille which includes a poetic description of the view. An image of this installation was used as the photo for this blog. 

  5. In recent years, more toys have become available in braille including a Rubik’s Cube, the popular card game UNO, and LEGOs. 

  6. The braille typewriter is different from a typical typewriter. Braillers have six keys correlating to each of the six dots in the braille cell as well as a space key, an enter button, and a backspace.