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, April 20, 2017

Throwback Thursday Object: Braille Knitting Counter

A friend of mine was knitting at a concert a few weeks ago while she listened, and I thought of this clever little device.  I’ll admit that I am not exactly sure how it works, as I am not a knitter, but I think I understand the principle.  Simply put, losing track of where you are in a pattern is bad!   This “knitting clock” is used for counting rows as you knit. Sighted people might use a pencil and paper, or a mechanical counter.  It was adapted and sold by the Royal National Institute for the Blind in England, sometime after 1953. It consists of a square aluminum plate with black plastic pointers on both sides, fixed at the center. The side with the longer pointer is brailled with the numbers 6, 12, 18, and 24 in a clockwise pattern beginning at center right. There are 5 single dots between each number. The side with the shorter pointer has three evenly spaced inch marks along the top edge, in the form of notches. Numbers 25, 50, 75, 100, and 125 are brailled around the pointer. Photo caption: Aluminum and plastic knitting counter.
Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
American Printing House for the Blind

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Throwback Thursday Object: Playing Card Slate

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Our object this week is humble enough, a piece of nickel-plated brass folded in half with seven windows at top and bottom.  Small cutouts on both sides make it easy to get cards in and out.  It was used to emboss braille by hand on a set of playing cards.  The Howe Memorial Press at the Perkins School in Watertown, Massachusetts introduced it as the “Model 16” slate as early as 1927 (but probably earlier, that just happens to be the earliest catalog I’ve seen). You could buy a deck of pre-brailled playing cards from Perkins in 1927 for $1.00.  Or you could buy this little beauty for 50¢ and braille your own.  Here is an interesting link I found to an 1879 article in a British magazine explaining how to mark a set of cards using an alternative dot code.  By the way, you can still buy a playing card slate from Perkins Products! Photo caption:  Playing Card Slate, 3.5 x 2.5 inches
Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
American Printing House for the Blind

April 2017 APH News


This month we focus on partnerships. Our Braille Tales program developed from a partnership with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.

A Few of This Month’s Headlines:

Partnerships: Vital to Providing Products and Services
  • NEW! Talking Typer™ (for iOS devices)
  • NEW! Woodcock-Johnson® IV Adapted for Large Print Readers
  • NEW! Spinner Overlays for the Light Box
  • NEW! APH InSights Art Calendar: 2018
  • Field Tests and Surveys
  • At Home, Abroad—Partnerships Yield a Harvest of Books
  • Braille in the Modern Age
  • STEM Corner: Tactile Anatomy Atlas and the DNA RNA Kit
  • Planning Meeting for UEB Research
  • NIMAC Version 3 Launched with New Features
  • Social Media Spotlight
  • APH Travel Calendar and more…
http://www.aph.org/news/april-2017/

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Throwback Thursday Object: Mold for a 12” Tactile Globe





Our object this week pulls back the curtain a bit on APH manufacturing processes.  It is the mold for the tactile globe we introduced in 1986.  APH has a long history with tactile maps.  Our first maps in the 19th century were hand carved from wood, but in the 1930s we began casting them in early plastics.  APH began manufacturing 12" globes in 1959.  Originally, the tabletop globes rested in a wooden cradle, but this model was designed for an aluminum stand.  The plastic parts of this globe were manufactured, painted, and assembled right here in Louisville.  The aluminum parts were purchased from the G.F. Cram Company, a major globe maker in Chicago.   This mold—a work of art in itself--was designed and fabricated in the APH model shop by master model maker Tom Poppe, circa 1985. The first photo: Epoxy mold for the 12” relief globe, two recessed hemispheres inside a red frame. The second photo: A finished 12” relief globe on its stand, water is light blue and the land is yellow with brown highlights.
Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
American Printing House for the Blind

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