Becoming blind himself by age 21, William Moon (1818-94) developed the first widely-used means of reading for the blind: a tactile reading system termed “Moon.” It is a simpler reading system than Braille and is easier to memorize. Its characters are bold and simple in outline and thus easy to distinguish by touch. Most characters are 9 unaltered or slightly-modified Roman letters in different positions. These are easier to discern when fine motor skills are poor, or when finger tips are calloused from manual labor, numbed by peripheral neuropathy, or otherwise have lost sensation. Thus, Moon is particularly helpful to blind, learning-disabled children and adults, and to print-readers who have lost their vision late in life. Sometimes, the latter use Moon as a stepping-stone to learn Braille. Although Braille has superseded Moon, it has not replaced it. Moon is widely-used particularly in Great Britain.
Submitted by Alice (Wendy) T. Gasch from the Cogan Ophthalmic History Society.