William MoonInventor / Clergyman
Born: 18 December 1818
Died: 9 October 1894
Birthplace: Horsmonden, Kent, England
Best known as: Developer of raised lettering for blind readers
A childhood bout with scarlet fever caused William Moon's eyesight to slowly deteriorate, so that by the age of 21 he was completely blind. He educated blind children with various systems of reading by touch, eventually inventing his own method in the 1840s, known as the Moon Code. The Moon Code is based in part on the English alphabet; the symbol for the letter 'O', for instance, is a circle. Moon settled in Brighton and was a successful teacher, preacher and printer. He made and sold hundreds of books in the new format, including a 60-volume edition of the Bible. Eventually the Louis Braille method became more widespread, but the Moon system is considered easier to learn for those who lose their sight later in life.
Extra credit: William Moon should not be confused with the writer William Least Heat Moon.
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