Showing posts from January, 2018

Quick Tip Video: Happy 160th Birthday to Us!


Throwback Thursday Object: More 160th Anniversary Materials and Information

January 25, 2018

This week the Printing House celebrated the 160th anniversary of our founding in January, 1858.  But that date recognizes the formal charter issued to the company by the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  Our object celebrates the fulfilment of that charter, when the company actually embossed its first tactile pages in 1866.  This engraved print was published in the March 5, 1864 edition of the Scientific American Magazine.  It illustrates a unique iron printing press, designed by famed designer Stephen P. Ruggles, specifically for APH.  The disruptions caused by the Civil War delayed any actual work on the press until an experimental edition of “A Book of Stories and Fables for Children” by the English writer John Gay was embossed in 1866.

Photo caption:  Engraving on paper of a four-legged iron printing press, with a large, spoked fly-wheel in the foreground connected by gears to a central cylinder. Micheal Hudson Museum Director, APH

Quick Tip: Increasing Complexity Pegboard. Children diagnosed with CVI frequently have difficulty in understanding objects presented in a complex array. The Increasing Complexity Pegboard provides materials for parents and teachers to create background templates specifically for their learners.


Quick Tip Video: Color-By-Texture Circus Coloring Pages. We're making art accessible with the Color-By-Texture Circus Coloring Pages in order to stir your students' creative juices!


Throwback Thursday Object: Early Talking Book Studio Microphone

Our object this week is an original microphone used in the recording studio at APH from around 1940.  APH began recording talking books for the National Library Service in 1937.  The omnidirectional dynamic microphone was developed at Bell Labs in the late 1920s. Western Electric developed this “mic” in the late 1930s that was omnidirectional to 15 kHz. Called the 630A, it was better known as the “Eight-Ball,” resembling a black billiard ball used on a pool table.  The "acoustic baffle assembly,” the round grill mounted on top of the body of the microphone, converted an omnidirectional mic into a semi-directional mic useful for studio work at APH. 

Caption, Western Electric “8-ball” microphone. Micheal Hudson Museum Director, APH

Quick Tip Video: Rolling Right Along Construction Kit. Use it to create your own tactile books!


January 2018 APH News

APH News is your monthly link to the latest information on the products, services, field tests, and training opportunities from the American Printing House for the Blind.

Nearby Explorer's Indoor Explorer Feature continues to make news. Featured in the Washington Post after the Louisville Airport installation was completed, we move this month to Orlando, where beacons have been installed in the Caribe Royale for the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) conference.
A Few of This Month’s Headlines:
Flying Through the Airport with Indoor Explorer! New! JAWS®- ZoomText® - MAGic® SuiteNew Features! Nearby Explorer™- iOS Versions Feature Indoor Explorer!New! Music Braille Code, 2015Field Tests and SurveysOn January 10th, Learn How You Can Create Your Own Braille at Home with BrailleBlaster™APH Celebrates 160 YearsAPH InSights Art Competition 2018 Now Open!Navigating ATIA a New Way! Nearby Explorer's™ Indoor Explorer Feature…

Home is Where the Braille Is: BrailleBlaster™ Software Is for Everyone

This is a slightly edited version of the text of the post appearing on AFB’s Family Connect blog on January 10, 2018, regarding BrailleBlaster.

Software for transcribing braille has been available for many years, but due to cost, it has been out of reach for most home users. The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is changing that by offering the most powerful transcription software available free-of-charge! Originally designed for braille transcribers, BrailleBlaster™ can be downloaded and used by everyone, including parents, teachers, and students. Download at
Special Question and Answer Event on January 17th!

More about BrailleBlaster in a moment, but first we want to invite you to an APH/AFB partner event happening on the FamilyConnect blog. If you have questions about how BrailleBlaster software can make life easier for you and your child, please visit that blog next week on Wednesday, January 17th. We will be answering questions in the Comments se…

This is the Year: Making Big Things Happen

This is the year: Making big things happen by Craig Meador, President, APH

As another year unfolds, the world anticipates with eagerness — or maybe some trepidation — the changes that lie ahead. Here at APH, we’ve been talking a lot about change for the last 18 months. You might feel like it’s been a lot of talk, but we’ve been hard at work preparing to implement changes that will make APH a stronger organization and give people who are blind or visually impaired even more innovative tools to achieve their full potential.
This is the year we’re going to deliver. We’re ready to make big things happen in 2018, and I’m excited to tell you about the bold steps we’ll be taking.
This is the year when BrailleBlaster makes it possible for unprecedented numbers of people to use braille — at work, at school, and at home. This revolutionary software tool translates text into braille quickly and accurately, so students can have braille learning materials on the first day of class along with their si…

Throwback Thursday Object: Celebrating Louis Braille's Birthday!

Today the world will celebrate the 209th birthday of Louis Braille, born January 4, 1809 in Coupvray, France.  After an accident left him blind, Louis was able to attend the National Institute for Blind Youth in Paris, France.  He met a soldier, Charles Barbier, who had proposed a dot code you could read by touch in the dark.  Louis simplified the code and published it for the first time in 1829.  APH was able to acquire a copy of that book, the Method of Writing Words, Music and Plainsong in Dots, in 2016 and it is the most prized artifact in our museum.  Embossed at the school by staff and students, it is hard to imagine that every copy was not touched in some way by the great inventor.  APH will celebrate Braille’s birthday and our newest exhibit “A Boy Named Louis” at a special event on January 20th.  You can find out more here.
Photo caption (Page 14 from Louis Braille’s “Method” showing its raised letter embossed print and the beginning of his key to the braille code.)

Quick Tip: Rolling Into Place. Rolling Into Place, a unique interactive storybook, teaches and reinforces important hand skills and basic directional concepts.