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 01, 2016

Throwback Thursday Object: Pocket Braille Slate and a Tribute to Will Evans

This article was written by Micheal Hudson, Museum Director, American Printing House for the Blind.

Although our object this week is a simple pocket braille slate, I actually want to talk about Will Evans.  This slate was in his desk, and he donated it to the museum in 2012 when he retired from APH.  That happened all the time.  In his job at APH, Will shepherded new product ideas through their initial development.  So his office was filled with half baked ideas and the detritus of half a century of working with blind kids and their parents.  He was a great listener.  He was never too busy to talk to you.  I can’t count the number of times that I took some odd bit of history down to Will so that he could help me understand why it was important.  I have missed that since he retired, and now… well, Will died on Monday.  He was quite a fellow.  When I arrive in the morning, I drive down Will Evans Way and park near the dormitory at the Kentucky School for the Blind named in his honor.   Will came to KSB in 1946 as a student and really never left.  He was the school’s superintendent and left a mark that will never be forgotten.  And about the slate:  APH began making an anodized blue aluminum postcard slate in 1956.  It had become gold by 1968, and later bright aluminum, like this one.  Conventional slates from APH came with pins up.  But in 1968, the company added a pins-down version to allow documents to be checked without removing them from the slate.  I know that because Will told me.  Or if he didn’t tell me directly, he let me talk until I had figured it out for myself.  And he will be missed.

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