Printing Visagraph

21 March 2014

Here's a piece of assistive technology from the 1930s! This large machine turned print into embossed letters which could then be read with fingers.

Here's a photo of a printing Visagraph, that was featured in Popular Science Monthly in 1931. The device was the size of an office desk and worked by punching text into special metallic foil to create embossed letters, which could then be read with fingers. Each page took about 6 minutes to create.

In the photo Robert E. Naumburg, inventor of the printing Visagraph, is watching Mrs Naumburg give instruction to Miss Edith Milner, a student at Perkins Institution for the blind, Massachusetts.

Popular Science Monthly described the machine as "an amazing development, though the user had to perform rather complicated adjustments in inserting the book, and smaller type than book print was beyond its reach."

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