A Bit of APH History

Access to information was not always easy. In 1850, it was extremely difficult to find tactile books. Individuals who were blind had to collect donations to emboss books in raised letters.

Fortunately, in 1858, The General Assembly of Kentucky passed An Act To Establish the American Printing House for the Blind.

01 Original APH Building 1883
American Printing House for the Blind

However, we were off to a rough start due to a little something called the Civil War, which forced us to delay our operations.

Finally, at the conclusion of the war in 1866, APH produced its first book: “Fables and Tales for Children”, in an embossed letter format called Boston Line Letter.

02 Boston Line Letter
Example of Boston Line Letter

Before Braille was officially adopted in the United States, the American Printing House produced books in systems based on Roman letters, as well as codes not based on Roman letters, such as NY Point and Moon Type.

Soon, APH came against its next major obstacle. Printing tactile books is not a profitable endeavor and we were running out of money. Fortunately, in 1879 Congress passed the Act to Promote the Education of the Blind, which meant that an amount of money was set aside for each student in grades K-12 who is blind in the United States, so that they could buy products from us. This is still a major part of how we function today.

Finally, in the 1920s, APH starts producing Braille, as other systems start to phase out.


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