The majority of people who go blind in later life are unable to master the small dots of the braille system. For such people the Royal National Institute for the Blind provides an easier alternative system of embossed type. This, with its clear, bold outline, is readily learned by people of all ages.
It is particularly suited to introducing the newly-blind adult to the art of reading by touch: many adult readers, having acquired confidence and a sense of achievement by learning Moon, graudate to the more comprehensive braille system.
Because it is much slower to produce than braille, there is far less literature available in Moon, but over the years a reasonably wide range has been published and is available on loan free of charge from the National Library for the Blind, 35 Great Smith Street, Westminster, London SW1.
In addition to the full-length books produced primarily for libraries, many shorter works are published (mainly short stories). A weekly newspaper (with a football supplement in the winter) is issued free of charge, and there are four monthly magazines, for which a small annual subscription is charged. Playing cards and Lexicon cards are also embossed with Moon characters. The Bible (authorised version) is available in its entirety, and certain sections of the New English Bible are also produced. All literature for sale may be obtained from the Royal National Institute for the Blind (Moon Branch), Holmesdale Road, Reigate, Surrey, who will be pleased to send upon application a printed or embossed catalogue of material in stock.
For information about why William Moon invented and started printing Moon type, please see the other pages on Moon on this site, especially Moon, Matches and Microchips.
From 1923, Moon has been printed direct from type. Several of the types are square-bodied, so that four characters can be produced, depending upon which way up the type is used, from one piece of type; others, on square or narrower bodies, make two characters; and some only one. Fourteen types are required to maket he alphabet, and twelve other types are used for contractions and punctuation marks. The type is set by hand. There are about 900 letters and space in a Moon page measuring 12 inches by 10 inches, and these can be set by an experienced typesetter in half an hour. The paper is moistened before printing to take the embossing without splitting, and after printing the pages pass through a mechanical gas-heated drier.
The Moon alphabet is composed of three kinds of letters:
1. Eight roman letters unaltered in form-
2. Thirteen other characters based on parts of roman letters (capital or small)-
3. Five new forms-
To facilitate learning, all except six of these characters are arranged in groups:
In four of the above columns, one character placed in four different positions signifies four different letters. In the middle column, two characters, each in two different positions, signify four different letters. The remaining six characters are grouped in three pairs:
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