Picht Braille Typewriter, also called „amphibian“
Author: Oskar Picht, German typhlo-technician and constructor, director of the Institute for the Blind in Bromberg and Berlin (Steglitz locality)
The year of production: 90s of the 19th century
Dimensions of the wooden case in which the typewriter is permanently mounted: 33,5 x 11,5 x 16,5 cm
Donor: Slovak Library for the Blind of Matej Hrebenda in Levoca
Picht’s typewriter has become a revolutionary European invention for its simplicity, low weight and immediate possibility of reading of the written text.
Oskar Picht was born on May 27, 1871 in Pasewalk as a son of a baker. His extremely intellectual talent, however, has been quickly shown and after a primary compulsory education he went to study at teacher training college. After graduation (1891) he worked as a teacher in Marienthal, from 1894 in Bahn and from 1899 at the Institute for the Blind in Berlin (Steglitz).
The very first Picht Braille Typewriter was made in the late 19th century, later followed by another 9 patents which subjects were the new types of typewriters and their major improvements.
Picht Braille Typewriter so called amphibian was used by the blind used for written communication with the sighted. Blind writer could palpate and adjust the particular letters of Braille on the right side of the machine. After setting each braille letter, they used their left thumb to press a metal lever to a rotating cylinder on which the selected letters were parallel adjusted, but in Latin. The writing of the individual letters meant their self-adjustment in Braille, pressing the lever on the cylinder from which the font of the letter was stamped on the paper. Although the typing on this machine was tedious it made the written communication with the sighted, who didn’t know Braille, easier. This was reached on the turn of the 19th and 20th century.
Oskar Picht died on 15 August, 1945.