What is a Perkins Brailler?

Hands typing on Perkins Brailler

by Mairead O’Mahony

The Perkins Brailler is a braille typewriter with a key corresponding to each of the 6 dots of the braille code. It has a space key, a backspace key, a line spacing key and a carry handle. It has 2 side knobs for advancing paper through the machine and a carriage lever above the keys. When typing, an audible bell sounds letting you know you are approaching the end of the line.

Before the introduction of the Perkins Brailler, righting in braille was a difficult process as braille dots were written using a stylus and slate or by using complex machines available at the time. The Perkins Brailler was developed in 1951 by David Abraham. He was dissatisfied with the existing technology for righting braille and wanted to create an inexpensive and reliable machine, which would allow people to right more easily in braille.