Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles
from Short Wave Craft,
published 1930 - 1936. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.
Unless you live with or
interact regularly with someone who is blind, it is easy to forget the difficulty
everyday life poses for him or her. I do not know any blind people. A lot of effort
has been put forth to help facilitate those who are severely sight impaired or totally
blind. Helen Keller is probably the most well-known blind person (she turned out
to be an outspoken
Socialist Party member - ugh), but I think of Ray Charles when
the subject arises. Melanie and I visited the
Florida School for the Deaf and
Blind while in St. Augustine a few years ago, where we learned Mr. Charles
was fortunate to have attended as a child. His rendition of "America the Beautiful" is by far my favorite.
This article from a 1935 edition of Short-Wave Craft reports on efforts
to make the electronics trade accessible to blind people via, in this case, pseudo-Braille versions of
schematics. Although theoretical design and analysis activities were possible, the
potentially lethal voltages present in any vacuum tube circuit presented insurmountable
hazards to hands-on practice. There have been occasional news stories recently about
products attempting to bring high technology devices into the realm of blind people;
Braille smart phone. A Technology Resource List is provided by
the National Federation
of the Blind. Distributors like
Mart sells products specifically designed for sight impaired and blind people.
Blind to Learn Radio with Braille Diagrams
The diagram at the shows the very latest in Textbooks for the BUnd-a treatise
on radio operat-ing recently compiled in the Braille System, in which the lines
of the diagram repre-senting the wires etc.,· are represented by raised dots.
Radio operating lends itself peculiarly to those so unfortunate as to have lost
the use of their sight. However, it was not possible up until recently for a blind
person to study radio diagrams or hook-ups, but thanks to the efforts of the American
Red Cross, a new book on radio operation has recently been compiled in the Braille
or raised letter alphabet, the dia-grams being formed by a series of raised dots
as shown by the accompanying picture. Thus, it is now possible for a blind student
to read all about vacuum tubes, oscillations, hook-ups for various types of receivers
and transmitters, how the vacuum tube operates and why, etc. Blind students may,
of course, be taught the operating code of dots and dashes with comparative ease,
through the sense of hearing, but-as afore-mentioned-until this new book had been
com-piled there was no treatise on radio available in the Braille alphabet.
This alphabet has special characters and one has to learn it the same as a child
learns its A.B.C.'s. It is surprising how rapidly a person can read a sentence or
page printed in the Braille raised letter system, when they have be-come proficient
at it. The diagrams, of course, lend themselves to rapid reading by their very nature,
the highly trained supersensitive fingers of the reader following along the lines
very easily and rapidly. The names of the various parts of an apparatus, or connections
in the cir-cuits, are placed alongside each respective part of the diagram, so that
as the student runs his fingers over the wire represented by the series of raised
dots he will also notice and interpret the letters or name, which may be found ad-jacent
to the respective parts.
Ray Charles Sings "America
Posted February 17, 2020 (updated from original post on 2/13/2015)
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