Throwback Thursday Object: the Atkinson Braille Writer

Our Throwback Thursday artifact this week comes from the Braille Institute of America in Los Angeles, or as it was originally called by its legendary founder, “Fighting Bob” Atkinson, the Universal Braille Press.  Atkinson founded the press in 1919 and it was a fierce competitor with APH for embossing and recording contracts.  The Braille Press began funding the development of a braillewriter in the 1930s.  The Atkinson Portable Braillewriter was introduced in 1948.  The design was unique.  Its keyboard, located on the top of the writer and above the paper rollers, made it very different from machines inspired by the Hall Braillewriter.  Most of its working parts were concealed, the paper carriage was fixed,  and only the embossing head moved across the paper.  A machine from another braille press, introduced only a few years later, included most of these advantages in a more traditional typewriter arrangement, and proved to be the better of the two designs.  And the Perkins Braillewriter is still in production today.
First Photo caption:  The Atkinson Portable Braillewriter was charcoal gray, fourteen inches wide, and its keyboard was mounted on a bar on top of the machine.  The paper fed into a flat tray underneath. Second Photo Caption: This is a side view of the Atkinson Braillewriter.
Micheal Hudson, Museum Director, APH 


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