Over the Moon with his discovery

Dr William Moon was born with a sense of sight; however, at an early age he lost the ability to see out of one eye and, by 21, was completely blind.


Determined not to let this faze him, Moon began to teach blind children how to read using existing embossed reading codes. None of the systems Moon used or taught were particularly user-friendly, so he set about creating a simple system that anyone would easily be able to pick up: Moon type, which was based on a simplified form of the Latin alphabet.

While Moon devised the type in 1843, it wasn’t until 1845 that it was published. These typefaces would have been printed in a different way to your standard letterpress print. Instead of the type being loaded into the press backwards and printed onto the front of the sheet, the type for Moon would be arranged in reading order, and printed onto the back, to create a negative. Soft paper was put behind the substrate to allow the pattern to be embossed.


When William Moon died in 1894, his daughter continued to promote Moon type, while his body of work was later donated to the National Institute of the Blind.

Although Braille is now the more widely known font for blind reading, Moon type still serves a purpose, as individuals that struggle with Braille can easily switch to Moon.


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