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Showing posts from March, 2017

Throwback Thursday Object: Clarke & Smith Model 2048 “Tapette” Talking Book Machine

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John Clarke and Alec Smith founded a radio repair company after WWII in Surrey, England.  They developed an early cassette based talking book machine in the 1950s.  Their half inch metal cassette was bulky and heavy and the player weighed over six pounds even without it!  But the idea was innovative and one step on the road to the modern cassette form of the 1970s.   The Royal National Institute for the Blind announced in 1960 that its talking book program would switch over from vinyl disk to the C&S cassette.  This machine, using a lighter, smaller plastic version of the C&S cassette was introduced in 1967.  These were used in Britain and the Commonwealth but never in the U.S. (We have included two photos. First photo caption:
The green plastic “Tapette” was 6 x 9 x 10” and had its simple controls on top. Caption for second photo: Black plastic “Tapette” cartridge and a black vinyl mailing pouch.) Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
American Printing House for the Blind

Quick Tip: Spinner Overlays for the Light Box. The Spinner Overlays for the Light Box collection is designed to support the individual needs of learners diagnosed with Cortical Visual Impairment, commonly called CVI, or those with low vision.

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Throwback Thursday Object: Rare Talking Book

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Gulliver’s Travels
Our object this week is a recent find, and very significant.  In February 1936, APH installed a model recording studio in a small room in its already overcrowded building and began experimenting with a new idea:  the Talking Book.  The braille presses were humming, but American Foundation for the Blind President Robert Irwin had convinced the APH leadership that recorded books were the next big thing.  That year, APH recorded five books and the first, narrated by Louisville radio pioneer Hugh Sutton, was the Jonathan Swift classic “Gulliver’s Travels.”  Last autumn, an electrician in Colorado Springs named Michael Lucas got in touch with our museum.  He had fourteen vintage Talking Books from the earliest days of the program, and among them was a copy of Gulliver.  APH only pressed about 100 sets of that first book.  When Talking Book libraries began to convert from phonograph records to cassettes, most of these early records were destroyed or discarded.  This might…

Quick Tip: BrailleBlaster, Part 2

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Throwback Thursday Object: The Musicwriter

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Did you know that March is Music in Our Schools Month?  Our very unusual object this week is the Musicwriter, a patent electric typewriter whose key set was altered to type the full range of musical symbols.  It was invented by the prolific American composer Cecil Effinger in Colorado Springs in 1954, originally to type up musical scores.  The company he founded to manufacture it lasted more than thirty years.  Effinger, interestingly enough, taught instrumental music at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind for a few years in the late 1930s.  At APH, his invention was used to prepare proofreading copies of music in print as they were being translated into braille.  Braille sheet music used to be a major line at APH and our vaults are still filled with the stereotype plates used to emboss the music. (The photo shows the Musicwriter, and we include this information caption: The Musicwriter was a heavy gray aluminum machine, shoehorned into the case of an Olympia typewriter, but wi…

Quick Tip Video: How to Be a Field Tester. Want to be a vital part of the APH product development process? Become a field evaluator!

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Alexa, "Open March Madness"! Play the Accessible Bracket Game, and Get All Your March Madness Information!

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IntroductionIf you’re anything like me, you find yourself caught up in the phenomenon aptly termed “March Madness.” Even the most casual college basketball fan can find something to interest them as it relates to March Madness—a local school who succeeds in the tournament, a small school who defeats bigger schools and advances, or the inspirational story of a player who has overcome adversity to make an impact on the tournament.

Filling Out an Accessible Bracket
Regardless of your level of tournament knowledge or interest, we provide you links for participating in an accessible bracket contest and for listening to or watching the games. If you have tried to play bracket contests in the past, you are keenly aware that many of them lack accessibility. There are too many available contests to test for accessibility, and interfaces change seemingly from year to year; however, we know that there is one specially created bracket contest, the goal of which is to provide a fully accessible brac…

Throwback Thursday Object: Sculpture of a Clenched Fist from the Father Thomas Carroll Collection

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Sculpture of a Clenched Fist
Our object this week comes from our Father Thomas Carroll Collection.  Robert "Bob" Amendola (1909-1996) was an artist working as an engineering illustrator at an aircraft plant in the 1940s when he was “borrowed” by Father Carroll to help blinded veterans develop their sense of spatial awareness. After the war, Amendola joined Carroll at the Catholic Guild for the Blind in Boston and developed a course of spatial orientation and sound localization that he called "videation."  His work impacted thousands of trainees over four decades.  According to the Carroll Center website, "Amendola continued his work as an artist... completing many commissioned sculptures, notably the Stations of the Cross in the Chapel of St. Thomas Moore at Yale University and the statue of George Washington Carver as a boy at his Diamond, Missouri birthplace, now a national monument."  This clenched fist is a plaster casting, painted dark bronze.
Micheal…

Quick Tip: BrailleBlaster! Currently, APH is beta testing BrailleBlaster software, a revolutionary new tool for braille transcribers and others who need to produce high-quality braille material quickly and efficiently! Find out more in this Quick Tip!

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March 2017 APH News

A Few of This Month’s Headlines:
Focus on AccessibilityNEW! Instruction Manual for Braille Transcribing, UEB, Large Print EditionField Tests and SurveysSTEM Corner: DNA Twist and the DNA RNA KitSummer Camps AnnouncedTreasure from the Migel: Digitization Promotes Access!Social Media SpotlightQuick Tips CornerAPH Travel Calendar and more…http://www.aph.org/news/march-2017/

Throwback Thursday: A Look Back at Susan Merwin and Her Contributions to APH

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Who is Susan Merwin? This informative piece provides a look at this influential woman who played an important role in the growth of APH.
Our object this week celebrates Women’s History Month.  Susan Merwin (1874-1923) was only the second woman to head an American school for the blind when she became Superintendent of the Kentucky School for the Blind in 1912.  And she became the only woman to head APH when she took over our reins from B.B. Huntoon in 1919.  In truth, though, Merwin had been running APH for years as Huntoon’s assistant while he suffered from various ailments.  Her work in Washington DC in July of 1919 while still assistant superintendent was critical.  She testified before the House Committee on Education and Labor, leading to the first increase in the federal appropriation to APH in forty years.  After becoming superintendent, she lead a series of initiatives to modernize equipment, remodel the building’s interior and exterior, and accelerate the transition at APH to …

Quick Tip: VisioBook Carry Bag. The VisioBook Carry Bag, a handy, briefcase-style satchel with zipper pockets, makes it easier to take your VisioBook from class to class, from home to office, or wherever you use the versatile VisioBook Magnifier!