The Moon alphabet was invented by Dr. William Moon (1818-1894).
Dr Moon lost his sight completely at the age of 21 after being
partially sighted throughout his childhood. He learnt all the embossed
reading systems available at the time but found them unsatisfactory
so invented his own system. He brought out his first booklet
in the new alphabet, ‘The Last Days of Polycarp’, in 1847.
News of Dr Moon’s new alphabet spread quickly and he was soon
swamped with requests for parts of Bible. At first Dr Moon
printed all the documents at his home in Queens Road, Brighton,
UK. In 1856 however, he managed to obtain funding from
the blind philanthropist Sir Charles Lowther to set up a printing
press and workshop nearby. The Moon Printing Works operated on the
same premises until 1960, producing books and magazines in 471
Dr Moon also travelled to many parts of the British Isles and other
parts of the world setting up printing presses, libraries and
home teaching socities. After his death in 1894, his daughter Adelaide
continued his work.
Today Moon’s alphabet is little used or known outside the UK. Since
the 1990s though there has been a revival of interest in it.
- The Moon alphabet consists of embossed shapes which can be read
by touch. Some of the Moon letters resemble the letters of
the Latin alphabet, others are simplified letters or other
- The Moon alphabet is easier to learn than Braille,
particularly for people who lose their sight in later life.
- The letters of the Moon alphabet can represent individual sounds,
parts of words, whole words or numbers.
Further information about William Moon and the Moon alphabet
An introduction to the Moon alphabet