Throwback Thursday Object: Espinasse Braille Duplicator
Our object this week would allow a small shop to emboss its own braille publications and in a very unique way. Designed for small scale braille reproduction, the Espinasse Braille Duplicator was invented in 1954 and sold for about $250. From the instruction manual, "There is a master plate and a punch plate which each have 3200 holes. The punch plate is fitted with small punches in each hole; it is fitted over the master plate and the braille is written with a frame [slate] just as in ordinary writing. An awl [stylus]pushes the small rods in those cell holes forming the letters into the master plate. The master plate is placed on a flat bed; a pressure roller is drawn over the master plate and the paper on which the embossing is to be done, and when lifted off, the paper contains an excellent grade of braille." It was made by the Societe Nationale de Constructions Aeronautiques du Sud-Est, a French aircraft manufacturer which emerged from the nationalization of the French aeronautical industry in 1937. (That explains the really cool dragon logo on the side of the aluminum frame.) The company merged with another regional firm in 1957 to form Sud Aviation. Like many items in our collection, APH purchased this example to see if it had application in the educational market.