Early YearsLouis Braille was born in Coupvray, France 1809. Louis had three elder siblings. (Monique Catherine (b. 1793); Louis-Simon (b. 1795); And Marie Céline (b. 1797)) As soon as Louis could walk, he loved to play in his father’s workshop, as his father was a leatherer and maker of a horse tack. One day, when Louis was three, he was playing in his father’s workshop with Simon-René Braille – his father’s tools and trying to make holes in the leather with an Awl, (a small tool used to pierce holes in leather.
) While at the same time Louis was squinting closely at the surface of the leather. Louis pressed down hard to drive the point of the Awl in, But, unfortunately, the Awl glanced across the leather and struck Louis in one of his eyes. A local physician patched the wounded eye and arranged for Louis to meet a surgeon in Paris.
At the time, there was no treatment for such a wound. After a few weeks, the damaged organ became severely infected; an infection which spread to his other eye, due to sympathetic ophthalmia. Fortunately, Louis survived the infection, but at the age of five, Louis was completely blind in both eyes. Because of Louis’ young age, he did not realize at the time that he was blind and often asked why it was so dark.
His parents made many efforts to raise Louis in a normal fashion. Louis learned to navigate the village and country paths through sound and canes his father made for him. Louis grew up not knowing about his disability, and grew up fairly happy with it. Because of Louis’ combination of Intelligence, and diligence, Louis was accommodated with higher education, and was admitted into the first school for blind children in the world at ten years old. The Royal Institute For Blind Youth, later renamed to the National Institute for Blind Youth. At the school, Louis, along with other children, Learned the Haüy (Ha-wee) system devised by Valentin Haüy, The school’s founder. Braille was also inspired by the military cryptography of Charles Barbier, A captain in the french military in the 19th century who invented a system that was exclusively for the french military. At 13 years old, Braille had devised a system of his own; which is now known as Braille; the reading and writing system for the blind.