Slovakia is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the national prize for the design of braille typewriter TATRAPOINT Adaptive

Almost 200 years have passed since Louis Braille created the braille system of writing for the blind and visually impaired. The first tools to “emboss” the dots on a sheet of paper were a simple slate and a simple stylus, probably the first ones made just of cardboard and some kind of needle or nail.

Photograph of the TatraPoint Adaptive braille typewriter

As time passed, the shapes and materials of the slates and styluses changed. Nevertheless, they remain very effective and handy tools for writing in braille to this day.

The slate and stylus are something like a pen and paper. Small slates and styluses are easy to carry along, handy, and effective for short texts or notes.

Just as for the sighted, typewriters sped up writing compared to the pen, for the blind, braille typewriters offered the possibility of faster writing than the slate and stylus.

Mechanical braille typewriters represented a new way of embossing or punching the dots. Whereas on the slate and stylus, dots need to be punched one at a time, with the mechanical braille typewriter, the braille cell of six dots can be punched with one strike.

The first braille typewriter was the Hall braille typewriter, invented in 1892 by Frank Haven Hall, superintendent of the Illinois School for the Blind. Soon it was followed by the Picht Braille typewriter, the Perkins Braille typewriter, and far more machines, even a special seven-dot entry braille typewriter for the braille stenography, Deutsche Verhandlungsstenographie.

Photographs and more information about different braille typewriters can be found in the online exhibit of historic braille typewriters on the website of the American Printing House Museum (once redirected, press the “table of contents” button).

In the nineties of the 20th century, a small company was founded in the western part of the Slovak Republic, a newly established republic after the separation of Czechoslovakia. The company ŠVEC GROUP, bearer of several international ISO standards, was focused on constructive engineering, automotive, and heavy mechanisms. Despite the difficult beginnings in the unstable market environment, the company agreed to help the Slovak Blind and Partially Sighted Union with their effort to find a relatively cheap and available typewriter for blind Slovaks. And so, practically since the year of the company’s foundation, braille typewriters have been produced in the hundreds each year. In approximately 30 years, more than 17 thousand typewriters have been produced and shipped to tens of countries around the globe.

TATRAPOINT, embosses braille dots like the mountains high enough

photograph of the braille typewriter TatraPoint Adaptive

This Slovak typewriter got its name after the highest Slovak mountains, Tatras. It was created at the beginning of the nineties of the last century, inspired by the braille typewriter Erika Picht Braillewriter, which was created in Eastern Germany in 1979 and was produced until a few years after German Reunification in 1990. TATRAPOINT soon filled the gap on the market in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and since 1994, has been exported to many more foreign countries as well. Today, the typewriters are exported to more than 50 countries around the globe, including Brazil, Indonesia, and the Republic of South Africa.

Watch the video of TartaPoint Adaptive on YouTube.
Watch how to insert a paper into the TatraPoint braille typewriter on YouTube.

In 1997, a brand-new design was created by the young student, Rastislav Čerešňa, who brought a completely new concept to the TATRAPOINT design. He conducted deep research on writers’ preferences and demands, collected robust information on writing styles, and designed the new adjustable keyboard for this mechanical typewriter. Since 1997, the new TATRAPOINT Adaptive has been produced and sold all over the world. The most important feature of the keyboard is the ergonomic shape of all the keys and adjustability of the keyboard mechanism for the hands of blind users, beginners, or experts in braille writing. The keyboard can be adjusted for a child with small hands but also for an expert fast writer with bigger hands and fingers, with the need of more space between the keys. This adjustable keyboard makes the unique typewriter, suitable from the school years of a child, continuing to be a useful tool in the adult years along with other braille tools for reading and writing.

The products of the Company, ŠVEC GROUP, are regularly presented at a variety of international exhibitions and cooperate with multiple foundations and blind unions.

TATRAPOINT braille typewriter represents a very good braille writing tool , offered for a cheap price. According to the CEO of the company, this production may be considered as their share of responsibility for better life in this world for everybody. Most of all, this typewriter is one reliable and long-lasting piece of machinery.

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