Louis Braille's original publication, Procedure for Writing Words, Music, and Plainsong in Dots (1829), credits Barbier's night writing as being the basis for the braille script. It differed in a fundamental way from modern braille: It contained nine decades (series) of characters rather than the modern five, utilizing dashes as well as dots. Braille recognized, however, that the dashes were problematic, being difficult to distinguish from the dots in practice, and those characters were abandoned in the second edition of the book.
|1824 to ca. 1837|
|modern French Braille|
The first four decades indicated the 40 letters of the alphabet (39 letters of the French alphabet, plus English w); the fifth the digits; the sixth punctuation; the seventh and part of the eighth mathematical symbols. The seventh decade was also used for musical notes. Most of the remaining characters were unassigned.