Who we are
The name suffix “Brailletec” refers to “Braille”, named after the Frenchman Louis Braille. Its origin is a military one. In early-19th century, the French officer Charles Barbier tried to use characters (and the combination of dots) for military purposes. Messages should readable in the darkness of the night without the risk to draw enemies by the light. In 1929, Louis Braille used this method to develop the today’s international Braille language.
“Blista” was also born during the war. It started its activities with a group of war-blinded persons of World War I, being under medical treatment at the Marburg University hospital. Since St. Elisabeth, the special care of sick and disabled persons had become a real tradition in Marburg. The patients wanted to do more than producing baskets. In Carl Strehl, a committed blind philosophy doctoral candidate, they found the perfect teacher and person looking after their education and rehabilitation. In 1916, he founded the “German society of Blind Academicians” and the “Deutsche Blindenstudienanstalt” – to give young war-blinds the chance to graduate and study at the university. It started its work in two rooms with a minimum of means. Soon it was joined by young blind civilians as well so that a secondary school for the blind was founded – the today´s Carl Strehl School.
No education without books – and the education of the blind needs books also, very large and thick and expensive braille books. Therefore the next step was to extend “Blistas” activities to maintain a braille library and a braille press that could produce and provide the required printed materials. The technical requirements for this had been already invented around 1900. In 1932, the school, the library, the press, the storage room and the shop and the workshop for technical aids for the blind could be accommodated in two new buildings; meanwhile the number of students reached 80 persons.
After World War II “Blista” extended in any directions. The school complex we know today was built in the Sixties. Worldwide, the Braille library is one of the largest ones. In 1983, a further building was installed, in order to accommodate the commercial-orientated departments of “Blista”: the publishing house, the printing house, the production of technical aids and the sales department.
The small workshop had meanwhile become an outgrown factory for the production of technical aids for the blind – due to the fact that the production of Braille writers had also moved to Marburg after World War II. In 1987, “Blista” purchased a small electronic company dealing with the development of computer-aided office equipment for the blind. At the same time, the entire technology was separated into an independent company which was later owned and generously financially supported by the government of Hesse. Unfortunately this proceeding turned out be economical unsuccesful, and in 1993 the government of Hesse started the liquidation of the company. Later on, the company could be privatised and put back on its feets again by a strong reduction of staff. With this, the production of technical aids in Marburg could be saved.
That was the beginning of “Blista Brailletec gGmbH”. The status of non-profitability could be maintained. Since 1994, the non-profit “Blista Brailletec gGmbH” is owned by the “Deutsche Blindenstudienanstalt” together with three organisations for the Blind.
Since privatisation in 1994, many things changed. Thanks to young team and many decades of experience, we are developing and supplying braille technology of highest quality. New products are enabling us to meet the needs of our customers for the requested additional technical possibilities.