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Interested in disability history? Check out what happened Today in AT History!


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  • January 10 - William Seward Burroughs files a patent for the first practical adding machine. Today, calculators are particularly useful for people with math-related learning disabilities, and printing calculators are useful for people who have trouble writing by hand. [1] [2]
  • November 3 - William Perkins is awarded a patent for a "Writing-Machine for the Blind." The typewriter-like invention provided "an improved writing-machine for the blind, whereby writing in embossed characters by puncturing sheets of paper may be performed much more expeditiously than can be done with the usual hand-slate and stiletto, and whereby, also, the embossed characters will be formed in the order in which they are read and in accordance with the code of characters usually employed." This device preceded the more durable, easier-to-use Perkins Brailler by over 60 years. [3]


  1. William Seward Burroughs. National Inventors Hall of Fame. Accessed March 7, 2008.
  2. Calculating-Machine. U.S. Patent #388116.
  3. "Writing-Machine for the Blind" U.S. Patent #329,675. November 3, 1885.