Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Thursday, September 07, 2017

Throwback Thursday Object: Tactile Poker Chips

Have you ever seen tactile poker chips?  They have been making braille playing cards for more than a hundred years, so I guess it makes sense that you need accessible chips too.  These plastic red, white, and blue chips came in the traditional round, an octagon, and a scalloped round.  We found them on ebay, but I don’t know any other history.  Send us your stories of any tactile chips you have used. Add comments to this post or to the accompanying posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.
Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
American Printing House for the Blind

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Throwback Thursday Object: Spine Chase



Our museum collection contains over 230 years of products for people that are blind or visually impaired, but it also contains a lot of interesting manufacturing and printing history.  Our object this week is a specialty tool used to emboss the print gold leaf spine labels on our braille books.  A “chase” is a frame used to hold printers type in a printing press.  The type was set by hand and the screw handle tightened until the type was locked in place.   The type chase was then slid into a book case stamping machine.  It was probably custom made, either for APH locally, but more likely directly in the APH machine shop sometime around 1960.
Captions: First Photo, Steel table on the chase has a fixed lip on one side and an adjustable lip on the other tightened with a hand screw.
Second Photo: The green linen spine of the American Vest Pocket Dictionary from 1969 shows a gold leaf label stamped with the spine chase.
Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
American Printing House for the Blind

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Throwback Thursday Object: A-74 Talking Book Machine

Our object this week is a common Talking Book phonograph from around 1974.  I really like the bright colors that the NLS was using back then.  This one is green and the speaker is mounted in its removable lid.  The passage of the Pratt-Smoot Act in 1931 created the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.  The act was amended in 1933 to include talking book service.  The WPA began manufacturing talking book machines for the NLS in 1935.  The first commercially purchased machines were bought by NLS in 1947.  The first transistorized machines, like this one, appeared in 1968.  Three speeds appeared in 1970.  This example was owned by Eva Morton, an alumni of the Kentucky School for the Blind.
Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
American Printing House for the Blind

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