Throwback Thursday Object: Clarke & Smith Model 2048 “Tapette” Talking Book Machine

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Throwback Thursday Object: Clarke & Smith Model 2048 “Tapette” Talking Book Machine

ByUnknownMarch 30, 2017ImageJohn Clarke and AlecSmith founded a radio repair company after WWII in Surrey, England. Theydeveloped an early cassette based talking book machine in the 1950s. Their half inch metal cassette was bulky and heavy and the player weighed over sixpounds even without it! But the idea was innovative and one step onthe road to the modern cassette form of the 1970s. The Royal NationalInstitute for the Blind announced in 1960 that its talking book program wouldswitch over from vinyl disk to the C&S cassette. This machine, usinga lighter, smaller plastic version of the C&S cassette was introduced in1967. These were used in Britain and the Commonwealth but never in theU.S. (We have included two photos. First photo caption:
The green plastic “Tapette” was 6 x 9 x 10” and had itssimple controls on top. Caption for second photo: Black plastic“Tapette” cartridge and a black vinyl mailing pouch.) Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
American Printing House for the Blind
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Quick Tip: Spinner Overlays for the Light Box. The Spinner Overlays for the Light Box collection is designed to support the individual needs of learners diagnosed with Cortical Visual Impairment, commonly called CVI, or those with low vision.

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Throwback Thursday Object: Rare Talking Book

ByUnknownMarch 23, 2017ImageGulliver’s Travels
Our object this week is a recent find, and very significant. In February1936, APH installed a model recording studio in a small room in its alreadyovercrowded building and began experimenting with a new idea: the TalkingBook. The braille presses were humming, but American Foundation for theBlind President Robert Irwinhad convinced the APH leadership that recorded books were the next bigthing. That year, APH recorded five books and the first, narrated byLouisville radio pioneer Hugh Sutton, was the Jonathan Swift classic“Gulliver’s Travels.” Last autumn, an electrician in Colorado Springsnamed Michael Lucas got in touch with our museum. He had fourteen vintageTalking Books from the earliest days of the program, and among them was a copyof Gulliver. APH only pressed about 100 sets of that first book. When Talking Book libraries began to convert from phonograph records tocassettes, most of these early records were destroyed or discarded. Thismight…Post a CommentRead More »

Quick Tip: BrailleBlaster, Part 2

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Throwback Thursday Object: The Musicwriter

ByUnknownMarch 16, 2017ImageDid you know thatMarch is Music in Our Schools Month? Our very unusual object this week isthe Musicwriter, a patent electric typewriter whose key set was altered to typethe full range of musical symbols. It was invented by the prolificAmerican composer CecilEffinger in Colorado Springs in 1954, originally to type up musicalscores. The company he founded to manufacture it lasted more than thirtyyears. Effinger, interestingly enough, taught instrumental music at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind for afew years in the late 1930s. At APH, his invention was used to prepareproofreading copies of music in print as they were being translated intobraille. Braille sheet music used to be a major line at APH and our vaultsare still filled with the stereotype plates used to emboss the music. (The photo shows the Musicwriter, and we include this information caption: The Musicwriter was aheavy gray aluminum machine, shoehorned into the case of an Olympia typewriter,but wi…Post a CommentRead More »

Quick Tip Video: How to Be a Field Tester. Want to be a vital part of the APH product development process? Become a field evaluator!

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Alexa, “Open March Madness”! Play the Accessible Bracket Game, and Get All Your March Madness Information!

ByUnknownMarch 13, 2017ImageIntroductionIf you’re anything like me, you find yourself caught up inthe phenomenon aptly termed “March Madness.” Even the most casual collegebasketball fan can find something to interest them as it relates to MarchMadness—a local school who succeeds in the tournament, a small school whodefeats bigger schools and advances, or the inspirational story of a player whohas overcome adversity to make an impact on the tournament.

Filling Out an Accessible Bracket
Regardless of your level of tournament knowledge orinterest, we provide you links for participating in an accessible bracketcontest and for listening to or watching the games. If you have tried to play bracketcontests in the past, you are keenly aware that many of them lack accessibility.There are too many available contests to test for accessibility, and interfaceschange seemingly from year to year; however, we know that there is onespecially created bracket contest, the goal of which is to provide a fullyaccessible brac…Post a CommentRead More »

Throwback Thursday Object: Sculpture of a Clenched Fist from the Father Thomas Carroll Collection

ByUnknownMarch 09, 2017ImageSculpture of aClenched Fist
Our object this week comes from our Father Thomas Carroll Collection. Robert “Bob” Amendola (1909-1996) was an artist working as anengineering illustrator at an aircraft plant in the 1940s when he was“borrowed” by Father Carroll to help blinded veterans develop their sense ofspatial awareness. After the war, Amendola joined Carroll at the Catholic Guildfor the Blind in Boston and developed a course of spatial orientation and soundlocalization that he called “videation.” His work impactedthousands of trainees over four decades. According to the Carroll Centerwebsite, “Amendola continued his work as an artist… completing manycommissioned sculptures, notably the Stations of the Cross in the Chapelof St. Thomas Moore at Yale University and the statueof George Washington Carver as a boy at his Diamond, Missouri birthplace,now a national monument.” This clenched fist is a plaster casting,painted dark bronze.
Micheal…Post a CommentRead More »

Quick Tip: BrailleBlaster! Currently, APH is beta testing BrailleBlaster software, a revolutionary new tool for braille transcribers and others who need to produce high-quality braille material quickly and efficiently! Find out more in this Quick Tip!

ByUnknownMarch 08, 2017ImagePost a CommentRead More »

March 2017 APH News

ByUnknownMarch 08, 2017A Few of This Month’sHeadlines:
Focus on AccessibilityNEW! Instruction Manual for Braille Transcribing, UEB, Large Print EditionField Tests and SurveysSTEM Corner: DNA Twist and the DNA RNA KitSummer Camps AnnouncedTreasure from the Migel: Digitization Promotes Access!Social Media SpotlightQuick Tips CornerAPH Travel Calendar and more…http://www.aph.org/news/march-2017/Post a CommentRead More »

Throwback Thursday: A Look Back at Susan Merwin and Her Contributions to APH

ByUnknownMarch 02, 2017ImageWho is Susan Merwin? This informative piece provides a look at this influential woman who played an important role in the growth of APH.
Our object this weekcelebrates Women’s History Month. Susan Merwin (1874-1923) was only thesecond woman to head an American school for the blind when she becameSuperintendent of the Kentucky School for the Blind in 1912. And shebecame the only woman to head APH when she took over our reins from B.B. Huntoonin 1919. In truth, though, Merwin had been running APH for years asHuntoon’s assistant while he suffered from various ailments. Her work inWashington DC in July of 1919 while still assistant superintendent wascritical. She testified before the House Committee on Education andLabor, leading to the first increase in the federal appropriation to APH inforty years. After becoming superintendent, she lead a series ofinitiatives to modernize equipment, remodel the building’s interior and exterior,and accelerate the transition at APH to …Post a CommentRead More »

Quick Tip: VisioBook Carry Bag. The VisioBook Carry Bag, a handy, briefcase-style satchel with zipper pockets, makes it easier to take your VisioBook from class to class, from home to office, or wherever you use the versatile VisioBook Magnifier!

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About Fred’s Head

Welcome to the APH Blog, also known as Fred’s Head! This is where you’ll find information on new products, APH events and new developments in the field of blindness.


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Stan Greenwood
A humble human, who is always found working on something or drinking coffee. A perfect introvert who talks barely anything but shares a lot through his blog posts at FredForum.

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