Braille was born in town near Paris, France in 1809. As a
toddler he used to watch his father make shoes. One day, while
his father was not watching, he picked up a sharp pointed tool
for making holes in leather called an awl. The awl slipped,
piercing his eye and damaging it beyond repair. The other eye
became infected and before long Louis Braille was completely
At the age of 10 Louis was sent to a school for blind
children in Paris. Children were taught to read and write using
a system of raised letters. This system was difficult to use as
it was hard to tell the letters apart. One day a soldier called
Charles Barbier visited the school. He had developed a system
for reading messages in the dark based upon a series of raised
dots. Louis Braille realised the potential of this system and
developed it so that it could be used for blind people.
Louis Braille's system was not accepted at first. One
Headteacher even banned the children from using it but this only
spurred them on to learn it in secret. Soon the benefits of the
new system were realised.
When Louis Braille grew up he became a teacher at the school
in which he was a student. It was not until after his death,
however, that his system was widely adopted. Today, Braille is
used in almost every country in the world.