Picht‘s Braille typewriter with wooden typewriter keys and reverse

Author: Oskar Picht, German typhlo-engineer, constructor, designer and a manager of Institute for the Blind in Bromberg and Berlin (area of Steglitz)

The year of production: 1918

Dimensions: 34 x 25 x 12 cm

Donor: Blind Museum in Levoča

Picht’s Braille typewriter became a revolutionary European invention for its simplicity, low weight, immediate reading of the embossed text.

Oskar Picht was born on 27 May 1871 in Pasewalk as a son of a baker. His exceptional intellectual talent revealed very soon and after he took the elementary education he went to study at a teaching seminar. After he passed it (1891) he worked as a teacher firstly in Marienthale and since 1894 in Bahn.

Since 1899 he was a teacher in Institute for the Blind in Berlin (Steglitz), where he looked after the institutional library consisting of the 1200 volumes of braille books. He organised a wide group of sighted transcribers who transcribed the text manually that was physically demanding. In ten years the number of braille volumes increased ten times. Because of effortfulness he thought over how to make transcription easier by using machinery. 

The first Picht’s braille typewriter was produced in 1899, but it was patented only in 1901. Later on, other nine patents followed, their objects were new types of devices and their principal improvements.

The principle of the Picht’s braille typewriter – a roller with a paper moves, but an embossing head is static.

In 1907 Oskar Picht was awarded a golden medal for inventions of machines for typing in Braille in Venice.

In 1909 he constructed a typewriter for stenographic record in braille onto a telegraph tape.

In 1918 the first Picht’s braille typewriter was supplemented with a reverse button.

Oskar Picht died on 15 August 1945.

Producers of Picht braille typewriter:

– a firm of Joseph Ruppert in Berlin produced the first Picht braille typewriter;

– R. Schuff, a producer of typewriters (since 1901);

– Herde and Wendt, a producer of typewriters (since 1906);

– O. Vierling in Dresden (since 1931);

– Blind Association in Marburg and Blind and Partially Sighted Association in Berlin (after 1945).