Writing frame for the Blind made by C.A. Carlsson, Stockholm, 1871
Used by blind people for writing, this frame helps them to write with equal spacing and was dual purpose – users could compose in Braille or could handwrite one letter at a time in a straight line using a system known in the nineteenth century as a scotograph. The paper is clamped down either side and the metal guide has a hole, large enough to write a single letter, where a pencil is placed. As the person writes the guide moves along is a straight line. A line of holes is also provided for writing in a system of dots known as Braille.
The machine was made by C.A. Carlsson in Manilla, Stockholm, Sweden and the presented to the Science Museum collections by the Swedish Government. Manilla was home to the Allmänna institutet för döfstumma och blinda å Manilla (Public Institute of the Blind and Deaf at Manilla), the first such institute in Sweden and founded by Pär Aron Borg in 1809. Carlsson seems to have had some, as yet undocumented, connection with the institute.
A paper label associated with this artefact suggests it was on display in the Swedish School House display, a full scale, completely fitted-out model of a school-house, at the International Exhibition in London in 1871.