Hearing of a new machine on which the blind could write (the noctograph
, literally the night writer), he bought one from the inventor, and he would later describe the device in a letter to a friend about his work methods: "It consists of a frame of the size of a sheet of paper, traversed by brass wires, as many as lines are wanted on the page, and with a sheet of carbonated paper, such as is used for getting duplicates, pasted on the reverse side.
This fate, aggravated by lifelong rheumatic pains, prompted Prescott to devote himself to the extension of the New England Asylum for the Blind, founded in Boston in 1829 (as an "unoculus inter caecos" [a one-eyed amongst the blind], so he wrote).(11) For his own work he used, besides a secretary-reader, a "noctograph
," a machine that he had bought in London in 1816 and that allowed him to write without seeing.(12)
When Prescott wrote he had to use a writing frame, known as a noctograph
, which had been designed for the blind.