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Throwback Thursday Object: Perkins Details a Catastrophic Event from 1917 that Changed the Treatment of Blindness

On the morning of December 6th, 1917, a French cargo ship loaded with explosives collided with a Norwegian freighter in the harbor of Halifax Canada.  The resulting explosion killed about 2,000 people and the flying glass that resulted from thousands of windows blown out by the pressure wave injured the eyes of almost six thousand people and blinded 41 permanently.  The large number of eye injuries turned out to an important event in both medical care for eye injuries and rehabilitation efforts for people who are blind.  This week the archives at the Perkins School for the Blind commemorates the centennial of this awful event and its aftermath by posting documents that tell the story.  Perkins has several other online exhibits that are equally fascinating.
Photo caption: View of the Halifax Harbor area after the explosion. Every tree and building in sight is shattered and broken. Everything is covered in snow.
Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
APH

Quick Tip: Joy Player Cartridge Field Test! APH seeks field test sites to test a newly designed digital cartridge for the Joy Player.


Throwback Thursday Object: An Early Math Aid


Our object this week is a wooden frame with small compartments in a twenty by thirty grid.  There are metal types with a raised Arabic numeral on the end that fit into the “cells.”  Originally called an Arabic Slate, this style of math aid was developed in Paris, France in the 19th century.  One source from 1910 called it the Paris Method.  This particular model, known as an Arithmetic Type Frame, was developed in 1936 at APH as an instructional aid for working problems in long division, multiplication, subtraction, and addition.   The supplied lead type was called Philadelphia Great Primer Type.  In 1959, APH introduced the Texas slate to replace the Arithmetic Type Frame.
Photo Captions: First Photo: The eight inch by thirteen inch Arithmetic Type Frame had 600 “cells.”
The second image shows you a close-up of the raised number types.
Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
APH

 

November 2017 APH News


This month, APH is transforming access as dramatically as braille did back in the 1850s with the introduction of BrailleBlaster™ software.
A Few of This Month’s Headlines:

  • Blasting Braille Into the Future
  • NEW! Increasing Complexity Pegboard
  • NEW! Large Magnetic/Dry-Erase Board
  • NEW! DeafBlind Pocket Communicator
  • NEW! Braille Datebook, 2018
  • Field Tests and Surveys
  • 2017 Wings of Freedom Award
  • Some Daring Adventurers from Annual Meeting 2017!
  • Essay Contest Coming Soon - APH 160th Anniversary!
  • APH InSights Art Competition 2018 Now Open!
  • Social Media Spotlight
  • APH Travel Calendar and more…
  • http://www.aph.org/news/november-2017/

Quick Tip: Reach And Match Learning Kit. The Reach and Match Learning Kit is an innovative system for students with sensory impairment and other special needs to help them learn while engaging with their peers.


Throwback Thursday Object: Cabinet of Printer’s Type

Did you ever wonder why we call capital letters “upper case” and non-capitals “lower case”?  They are printing terms.  From the origins of printing, Mr. Gutenberg and all that, some poor fellow had to sit with a “case” of printing type and lay out the page in a frame called a “galley” one letter at a time.  The capitals were in the top drawers of the case and so on.  Our object today is a cabinet of printer’s type.  The angled top allowed the typesetter to place his galley frame there while he loaded it with type from the drawers, or maybe rest a drawer there while he unloaded a previously used arrangement.  APH used type in several ways.  In more modern times, we used traditional type to print labels on book spines and Talking Book records.  In our early days, we used specialized type to manufacture raised letter books, the tactile books that preceded braille.
(Photo Caption:  Forty-four inch tall wooden case with space for twenty-four drawers, each drawer is about an inch high and is divided into many small compartments filled with printer’s type.)
Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
APH

Quick Tip: Tactile Compass for Math and Art. The Tactile Compass for Math and Art is an excellent assistive tool that enables students who are visually impaired to draw tactile circles.


Throwback Thursday Object: The Calculaid


Our object this week is one of my favorites, a math tool from the 1960s.  Andrew F. Schott, a math professor at Marquette University, developed an elementary school mathematics curriculum known as individualized mathematics in the mid-1950s which was adopted by schools all over the country.  In the early 1960s, the research department at APH began studying the possibility of adapting Schott's system in schools for the blind.  An abacus developed by Schott, the Numberaid, and a number of other devices, the Calculaid, Measureaid (a ruler and protractor), Fractionaid, and Geometraid were eventually listed in the APH catalog.  Pictured here is the Calculaid, basically a white plastic board with ten rows of six plastic wheels.  The “wheels” are actually ten sided, brailled to represent zero to nine.  A frame at the top of the Calculaid held your “Numberaid.”  APH was always looking at new trends in education and testing their adaptation for students who were blind or visually impaired.  Parts of Schott’s apparatus remained in the APH catalog until 1979, but research about the system’s effectiveness was inconclusive.
Captions:  First photo is a Calculaid with its ten rows of six plastic wheels.  Second photo is a black and white image from the APH catalog, with the Numberaid, a plastic abacus, snapped into place.
Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
American Printing House for the Blind

Quick Tip: Pegs and Pegboard. Get your students’ attention and foster visual development, eye-hand coordination, awareness of spatial relationships, and matching and sequencing skills with the Pegs and Pegboard!


Throwback Thursday Object: Braille Pin Board

Our object this week is a braille pin board which belonged to a home teacher of blind students in Connecticut named Corrine Delesdernier.  She attended the Perkins School in Watertown, Massachusetts and died in 1957.  Her wooden frame contains a brass board with 225 perforated braille cells in a fifteen by fifteen grid.  The rows are numbered in braille one to fifteen and the columns are lettered “A” through “O”. A cloth cushion on the right stores push pins that can be used to create raised braille symbols. Most of the pins have white, round plastic heads; a few are steel pins with clear glass heads.  I have most often seen these types of boards used to create braille crossword puzzles.  The Royal National Institute for the Blind in England sold a similar design in its 1933 catalog.  The frame of the pin board is clearly stamped “PERKINS INST FOR THE BLIND” although it is not clear if it was made at Perkins or purchased by them.
Caption: Braille Pin board
Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
American Printing House for the Blind