Author - Braillo Norway

Louis Braille Day

Who Invented Braille

Louis Braille born January 4 1809 – died January 6, 1852 was a French educator and inventor of a system of reading and writing for use by the blind or visually impaired. His system remains virtually unchanged to this day, and is known worldwide simply as braille.

Blinded in both eyes as a result of an early childhood accident, Braille mastered his disability while still a boy. He excelled in his education and received scholarship to France’s Royal Institute for Blind Youth. While still a student there, he began developing a system of tactile code that could allow blind people to read and write quickly and efficiently. Inspired by the military cryptography of Charles Barbier, Braille constructed a new method built specifically for the needs of the blind. He presented his work to his peers for the first time in 1824.

In adulthood, Braille served as a professor at the Institute and had an avocation as a musician, but he largely spent the remainder of his life refining and extending his system. It went unused by most educators for many years after his death, but posterity has recognized braille as a revolutionary invention, and it has been adapted for use in languages worldwide.

Braillo Embosser Pricing

A Braille Transcribers Take on Braille Production and Printers

By Steven G.

Ask anyone involved in Braille production of the stringent demands of their industry, and they will tell of its rigorous standards and requirements.  The demands placed on Braille transcribers, publishers and their equipment are enormous but seldom recognized.  As with all businesses, there are always deadlines, and it is imperative that they be met.

While book and school textbook production make up the largest segment of Braille production, there are many other areas that require large production runs.  The first step in Braille production is either creating the document from scratch, or converting and formatting it from standard text. This is done by skilled Braille transcribers with the help of commercially available Braille translation software programs.  The two most widely known programs are available through Duxbury Systems and Braille 2000. While these programs are acknowledged as being superior and accurate in their translations, the work needs to be proofread before it is sent to the printer to eliminate any errors; errors will completely ruin the reading experience for the non-sighted reader.

It is important to emphasize that while there are many Braille translation software programs available, I have found that only Duxbury and Braille 2000 offer the accuracy of translation required in Braille production.  Valuable time and materials are wasted by inaccurate translation, which is simply not acceptable in our industry.  If you’re producing Braille, don’t cut corners here – go with a reputable and reliable translation software.

Once the input has been accurately translated and proofread, it is ready for printing.  If you are printing a small document or a few pages for a family member, for example, this is done with a small printer.  However, my experience is with production rated Braille printers.  Due to the fact that many times we had a single document with a large number of pages and a large number of copies to be made, we used a Braillo Braille printer (more about them later). By definition, production Braille printing requires that the printer be run for long durations of time uninterrupted, only for reloading of paper.

The next critical component of quality Braille is the paper – this plays a great part in the readability of articles.  The Braille paper cannot be too smooth or too rough in its finish, otherwise it effects the reading experience.  It must be of sufficient weight and strong enough to hold to a firm and well-shaped dot.  Lastly, it must be of sufficient quality that it does not emit excessive dust during the printing process, which will cause unnecessary maintenance or damage to the printer.  Selecting the correct paper for use in a Braille printer is extremely important to the success or failure of the printing project.

There are many grades and types of paper used in the printing of Braille.  In most high quality books and documents, 90-100lb weight is used.  There are lighter weight options available for those not requiring the extra durability.  Our Braillo 200 used continuous paper, which is the most common in Braille printers.  There are also roll fed printers, while costing more initially, offer the cheapest operating costs.  We had a sheet feeder embosser from Index, but we only used it to print our book covers.

Given the technical requirements of Braille, it is imperative that the individual cell dots be aligned and spaced perfectly to ensure quick and accurate reading.  This helps to guarantee that Braille produced by all governing agencies throughout the world meet the same standards and criteria.  A reader of Braille should be able to expect the same quality of printed material no matter where he or she resides or visits.  Sadly, that’s not often the case.

This fact cannot be emphasized more strongly: the quality of the printer used guarantees the success or failure of the reading experience.  A misplaced or improperly aligned Braille dot is the same as a misspelled word in print, and conveys the wrong meaning to the reader.  It is significantly worse for the non-sighted reader, as he or she must “feel” back through several words or even a full sentence to identify the true meaning of the word in question.

The quality and performance rating of a Braille printer is paramount to the success of a printing program.  In my experience, as mentioned earlier, we used Braillo Braille embossers, which are built in Norway and supplied by American Thermoform Corporation.  As face as I’m concerned, the Braillo brand of Braille printers offers the best, most complete line of printers for the production Braille industry.

I hope my experiences provide some value for those in Braille production, or those considering getting into Braille production.

A Note From Braillo:

Thank you Steven for your comments on Braille production and how our embossers exceeded your expectations.  Braillo not only manufacturers the most complete line of Braille printers, but the most reliable and technologically advanced Braille printers.  Our printers are found in nearly every prominent Braille production facility in the world.  We recently announced a 3 year warranty, which is unmatched in the industry.



The Need for Braille

The Need For Braille

By Robert Jaquiss,
Sales Engineer, American Thermoform

Imagine you are the parent of a first grader. You send your daughter to school with every expectation that she will start to read and write. On a daily basis, your daughter returns home happily telling all about what she learned at school and you think all is well. Your daughter asks if she can visit her grandmother and you suggest she write a letter asking if she can schedule a visit. Soon after, she brings you a letter:

Deer Granma,
I wood like two come sea yew. It wuz fun makeing cookys with yew. Daddy cut down a you tree. We can gring Grandpa sum would for his shop. Uncle joe sawl a deere last weak. Pleez right soon.

Such a letter from a child beginning first grade would bring laughter from the reader. Children do mix homonyms, and English with its assortment of spelling rules, takes time to learn. You then find out to your great astonishment, that the school has provided your daughter recorded books instead of printed books. It is no wonder your daughter can’t write, yet the teacher is proud of her because she has a big vocabulary. If sighted children were really given recorded books to “read” from, there would be an outcry. No competent teacher or school administrator would even consider such a foolish idea. Unfortunately, this is the situation for children who are blind. Sadly, children who are blind are often not taught braille.

Since 1966, the Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) organization has worked to provide children with books . The question must be asked; if sighted children who are expected to read print, why are blind children not expected to learn to read using braille? When blind children are educated, it is often the case that only ten percent of them learn to read using braille (The Braille Literacy Crisis) .

Historically, when children attended schools for the blind, fifty percent of them learned to read and write using braille. Children who attended these schools had access to teachers who knew, and used braille routinely. The selection of available braille books is much smaller than the selection of print books available to students who are sighted. Braille books take up more space. For example, a braille Revised Standard Version bible required eighteen volumes and took approximately four feet of shelf space. The 1959 edition of the World Book Encyclopedia required one hundred forty-five large volumes and occupied approximately forty-three feet of shelf space. Anecdotally; it is my understanding that I was one of the very few blind students who had a braille encyclopedia of my own. Braille books are certainly larger than print books, however braille gives us the ability to be literate and free.

Dr. Ruby Ryles, a former director of the orientation and mobility master’s program at the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness at Louisiana Tech University, conducted a research study showing that those persons who were blind and who could read braille were far more likely to be employed than those who read print (Ryles 1998) .

In 2009, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) solicited letters from the blindness community, where one hundred of these collected letters were assembled into a book entitled; Let Freedom Ring Braille Letters to President Barack Obama . On February 1, 2010, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, received the book on behalf of President Obama. The one hundred letters in Let Freedom Ring describe the importance of braille in the lives of those who are blind.

Years ago, when fifty percent of children who were blind were taught braille, braille books were either produced with embossed plates and printing presses, or transcribed by hand using mechanical braillers. In the twenty-first century, we have braille translation software such as Duxbury and high speed, high quality braille embossers like those manufactured by Braillo. It is much easier to produce braille materials now than it was sixty years ago. How ironic that when braille was more difficult to produce, a higher percentage of children who were blind were taught to read and write with braille. Now that braille materials are easier to produce a much lower percentage of children who are blind are taught to read and write using braille. We need to make a change. We need to teach braille to our blind children.


The following references provide more in depth information about this subject.
[1] Reading Is Fundamental
[1] The Braille Literacy Crisis in America

Facing the Truth, Reversing the Trend, Empowering the Blind

A Report to the Nation by the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute
March 26, 2009
Braille Monitor Vol. 52, No. 5 May 2009  ISSN 0006-8829

[1] The Impact of Braille Reading Skills
Ruby Ryles Ph.D
Braille Monitor, National Federation of the Blind
Vol. 41, No. 2 February 1998  ISSN 0006-8829

Complete issue:

[1] Let Freedom Ring
Braille Letters to President Barack Obama
Published by the National Federation of the Blind.

Braillo 300 S2 Printer

Braillo Braille embossers – Engineered to take the guesswork out of Braille reading

From their introduction of the world’s first interpoint production Braille embosser in 1980, Braillo has been determined to manufacture the finest Braille embossers capable of embossing high quality Braille, both quickly and reliably, over long durations.  Braillo has achieved this goal through a combination of dedicated engineering and precision components.  Production Braille embossing requires the level of engineering found only in a Braillo.

Engineering High Quality Braille – shape, height, & placement

Braille Dot Shape
The shape of a Braille dot is the first criteria for giving the reader a predictable tactile experience, as well as making the dots legible to a blind reader. Dots with different shapes may cause the reader to stop and re-read them, so Braillo shapes the dots by locking and evenly distributing the pressure of specialized steel pins into heavy duty printing shoes.  This dedicated movement allows Braillo to create uniform dots that are perfectly round, clear and easily recognized – every time.  On the next embossing cycle, these print shoes hold the previously embossed dots firmly in place so they do not deform, bend or lose their height.  Making sure the dots keep their round shape is paramount for a Braille reader to understand what it is that they are reading.

Braille Dot Height
The height of a Braille dot is so important to blind readers that countries set standards for the size and spacing of Braille embossed on paper.  In the United States and Canada, for example, Section 3.2 of Specification 800 (Braille Books and Pamphlets) February 2008 reads as follows: “The nominal height of Braille dots shall be 0.019 inches (0.48mm) and shall be uniform within any given transcription.”

To meet these rigorous standards during a full day of Braille production, Braillo uses a mechanical embossing principle that employs magnets with a simple function – to engage a lever of its embossing system when it’s time for the dot to be embossed.  Every Braillo is built with up to 180 such systems, and they are engineered so the magnets are completely isolated from the physical shock of the embossing process.  The result is consistent height and unparalleled reliability.

Braille Dot Placement
Perhaps the most important aspect of Braille quality that is often overlooked is dot placement.  For the reader to understand what each dot represents, the dot needs to rigidly conform to a precise alignment of columns and rows.

As stated, Braillo production embossers use up to 180 individual embossing systems which are fixed, so they can emboss an entire line of Braille in one cycle.  These fixed systems ensure that the Braille dots are precisely aligned in the correct Braille locations – every time.

Invest in Long Term Success for You and Your Readers

When considering the purchase of a production Braille embosser, your return on investment is highly dependent upon embossing speed, embosser lifespan and the quality of your finished product.  Therefore, we strongly encourage you to evaluate not just price, but what is behind the price.

For over 30 years, Braillo has refined the art of producing consistent, high quality Braille to provide the best possible reading experience for your customers.  We start with the highest quality parts, components and machinery.  Braillo Braille embossers are engineered to consistently produce the best Braille dots at the highest speeds, all with minimal maintenance.  This combination of engineering, quality, reliability and decades of references, is the reason why Braillo is recognized as the most trusted production Braille embosser.  Braillo embossers are the only embossers that are thoroughly engineered to withstand the requirements of true Braille production.  Other manufacturers produce embossers that are designed for personal Braille use and attempting to use this type of personal printer in a Braille production environment will result in poor Braille quality and probable embosser failure – both of which cost time and money.

Quality Construction

Braillo Braille embossers are constructed from heavy duty, custom made, durable parts - construction and design that enables them to be run non-stop.

Quality Braille

Consistent height and precise alignment allows for a perfectly formed Braille dot - making Braillo Braille the easiest to read.

Quality Teamwork

Braillo has dedicated service and administration teams ready to assist you with high quality, field tested and proven Braille embossers, parts and supplies - just ask our references.

Quality For You & Your Readers

From transcribing to proofreading, you work hard to get your Braille documents right - you can count on Braillo to deliver a quality finished product.  Compare our Braille and you'll feel the difference.

American Thermoform Corporation Acquires Braillo Norway

Patrick N. Nunnelly, President of American Thermoform Corporation (ATC) and, announced today that the acquisition of Braillo Norway was completed in February of this year.

“We are very pleased with the opportunity to combine these two established companies that have long provided quality products to the blind and visually impaired,” stated Nunnelly.  He added, “We have worked closely with Braillo Norway for over two decades and fully recognize its commitment to and impact in our industry with the manufacturing of true, highly durable production Braille Printers, unmatched Braille quality, continuous technological innovation and superior customer support.”   

Braillo Braille Printers are relied upon by governments and educational institutions in over 60 countries around the world. They are built with precision-made, long-lasting and high-quality materials, which is why its consumer base has invested in the Braillo brand for decades.

Combined, ATC and Braillo bring over 90 years of experience and expertise in Braille production.  Nunnelly feels confidently that, “this unique partnership of industry leaders will strengthen internal efficiencies and expand innovation across all product lines, which will deliver greater value to the customers ATC and Braillo are dedicated to serving.”


Braillo Norway, founded in Tonsberg, Norway in 1980, is recognized as the world’s leading manufacturer of production-rated Braille Printers.  Braillo Norway’s business offices are located in Tonsberg, Norway and production facilities in Stjordal, Norway.  The Braillo Norway operations will continue to be located in its current facilities and with all of its existing employees.

American Thermoform Logo

American Thermoform Corporation, founded in 1962 and located in La Verne, California, is a manufacturer and supplier of Braille Printers, Thermoform & Tactile Graphics Machines, Braille Paper and related supplies for the blind and visually impaired.  American Thermoform has been the exclusive distributor of Braillo Norway Braille Printers, parts and service in North America since 1989.