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Louis is an inquisitive 3 year old who uses a leather-working tool in his father's harness shop. The tool slips and he injures his eye and eventually loses vision in both eyes. At the age of 10 he is sent to Paris where he becomes a student at the Royal Institute for Blind Youth. At the time there are only 14 books at the school that the blind students can read. These books are made using embossed letters on sheets of wax paper. Louis learns of a system of raised dots developed by Charles Barbier, called "night writing." Working over a 3-year period, Louis adapts Barbier's "night writing" into his own raised dot system. Louis' code, which enables people who are blind to read and write is not met with enthusiasm. It takes many years for its value to be recognized and the code to be accepted for use in France.
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