Braille Nameplates: The History of Braille Printing & Engraving

October 21, 2014

What is Braille?

Braille is a system of raised dots that scholars created to help those with poor eyesight read and write through tactile signs. The braille alphabet was created throughout years of trial and error, though. It faced several adversities along the way. Now, custom braille signs are a regular staple in society, ensuring the comfort of the blind and visually impaired.

braille nameplates

Interestingly, braille is read from left to right but is written from right to left. Although it is similar to whatever language it’s translated into, braille differs from traditional language in many ways. Unfortunately, this component was often responsible for some the adversity the system faced.

The Beginnings of Braille

One of the first innovators of reading and writing for the blind, Valentin Haüy met his first blind pupil on the street. Haüy gave François Lesueur, a blind beggar, a coin as he passed by—Lesueur stopped him in his tracks when he knew the amount of the coin simply by touching it. Haüy and Lesueur worked with wooden letters, a rudimentary but revolutionary method of teaching the blind.

Six months later Lesueur had learned so quickly that France’s most educated scholars were amazed.

Years later, a three year old Louis Braille suffered an injury at his father’s workshop, causing him to lose his eyesight. Louis’ father sent him to the Royal Institution for Blind Children. This severe, destitute school taught the children with Haüy’s wooden letter system. French army members brought the method of night writing to the school years later. This later inspired Louis to create the system of braille.

The French army used night writing to communicate secret messages and for reading in total darkness. Louis noticed that the night writing had a few flaws, though. Its overly large letters, lack of punctuation, and bulky dashes made it difficult to read. Louis tinkered with the system over the years, making it so effective that he was even able to compose music in Braille.

Braille was originally rejected by some. Its opponents believed blind people should not have the independence braille would afford them. Some leaders called for the burning of braille books and the confiscation of braille writing equipment. But, braille supporters protested and it was finally adopted as France’s official communication system for the blind.

Although the process was once controversial and tedious, signs for the blind are produced around the world. Learn more about the history of engraving,  another method that has transformed over the years.

3 Nameplate Attachment Options for Your Next Project

September 17, 2014

Metal nameplates are a durable, attractive way to show ownership over your products and display your company’s name. Whether the metal nameplate you are trying to display is a barcode label, custom engraved nameplate, or an etched marking plate, there are different options for how you can choose to attach it. Different projects call for different methods, though, and each offers a variety of perks as well as difficulties.

metal name plate

We will focus on the three options of:

• Hanging
• Welding
• Adhesion

The least intensive of the options is to simply hang the metal plate—all this requires is a nail to secure the plate onto. The main benefit of this method is its ease. Requiring almost no effort, hanging a custom metal plate can be done in a snap. But, its main benefit is also its main drawback because it can be easily undone as well. The hanging method will make your metal decal placement far from permanent as it can be accidentally knocked off or purposefully taken down. If you are looking for an effortless method and an easy take down, though, hanging is definitely for you.


On the other end of the spectrum is welding, which offers permanence and reliability. Welding is a highly technical skill, though, requiring time, knowledge of the process, and attention to detail. If you plan to use welding on your equipment nameplates, make sure to plan ahead when you design a graphic.

The graphics on nameplates that are being welded need to be centered towards the middle with plenty of space around the edges. Otherwise, the name or image will end up permanently warped. Finally, welding is not always the appropriate option as it only works for certain cuts of metal.

Using adhesion is a suitable middle ground between these two options. It provides durability without permanence and ease without unreliability. Using industrial, double sided tape on your metal decals can make the attachment process quick with no required maintenance to the decal or the surface it is being attached to. Make sure to choose the correct adhesion material for different surfaces, because if you pair them incorrectly the nameplate will not adequately attach.

Although there are many of attachment methods for metal nameplates, the engraving methods have changed and grown over the years. Learn more about new and old engraving methods from the Yeuell blog.

Applying Graphics to Nameplates: Learn Which Way is Best for You

September 17, 2014

You want to make sure your nameplates last long and make your company look good. There are several factors that go onto this, such as where your nameplate will hang—will it need to shine in a spotless factory or endure the elements on a deep water drill? Some metals will work better with certain application processes, which is another component to consider when weighing your options.


Below you will find some informational pros and cons for the processes of engraving, debossing, embossing, and screen printing:

1. Engraving is the method of making small cuts into nameplates to create the desired design. This is one of the best options for durability and preciseness. In fact, engraving methods date all the way back to the fifteenth century. Fortunately, engraving is now done with a machine rather than by hand. Modern methods include mechanical and laser engraving, which transfer a digital image onto the nameplate.

2. Debossing will create a depressed imprint on your metal tags. Requiring less machinery than engraving methods, debossing pushes the image into the nameplate. The process involves ‘male’ and ‘female’ die, which press the graphic or text and resulting in the indented metal image. Debossing is a good solution for adding intricacies but can be delicate against rough conditions.

3. Embossing has a similar process but a completely different look than debossing. Rather than a depressed image, embossing produces a raised image on the nameplate. Akin to debossing, embossing should be used on more flexible metals and is not a great option for harsh environments.

4. Screen printing is a flexible option that offers a variety of colors and is cost-efficient. The graphic is simply printed onto the metal, so it is a less intensive procedure. While this makes it a more economical option, it also makes it a less durable application. Screen printing is most appropriate if the nameplate will be under mild conditions.

Graphic application processes are advancing and changing, but these reliable methods are tried and true. Collaborate with your nameplate supplier and decide which is appropriate for your company and specific product. There are more than these four options, so researching all the available methods will help you to decide. In the meantime, learn about Yeuell’s mechanical and laser engraving capabilities.

Engraving Methods: Old and New Engraved Tags

August 25, 2014

Developed in the fifteenth century, engraving was considered a goldsmith’s art. The first form of engraving was line engraving, which was practiced throughout Italy. This process consisted of carvings made into a hard substance and then printed onto paper. The engraved tags were etched with bold designs and intricate details that were filled with ink.

Given the printing process involved, the images would appear reversed so the plates had to be etched backwards. Artists who created pieces with this line engraving method generally used copper plates due to its softness, which kept the engraved edges from appearing too harsh.

An engraved antique brass tray.

An engraved antique brass tray.

Steel line engraving, though, was also practiced beginning in the 1820s. Although copper was heralded for its softer feel, steel was discovered to be a more durable option thanks to its firmness. Allowing finer detail and resistance to wear, steel engraving also required new, stronger tools for engraved tags.

Engraved stainless steel tags allowed for numerous prints without any signs of deterioration, reducing costs and giving new life to the printing industry. Both steel and copper engravings as art forms died down after the 1840s despite the incredible detail and skill they demonstrated.

Modern Practices For Engraved Tags and Nameplates

Engraving methods have grown greatly since this time, with mechanical engraving and laser engraving processes as popular alternatives. Rather than producing fine art, though, these high-speed options are used to create engraved aluminum tags, engraved stainless steel tags, and other engraved tags and nameplates.

Here at Yeuell Nameplate & Label we have to ability to take electronic design files, such as logos or images, and mechanically engrave them directly onto the desired nameplate. We engrave materials such as brass and aluminum with a high-speed cutting tool for engraved rotary tags.

On the other hand, laser engraving can chisel details to the minuscule .005”. At Yeuell we use a CNC driver with a laser beam to achieve these narrow lines. Representing the latest in engraving technology, lasers are commonly used for engraved stainless steel tags and plastic tags thanks to its quick, detailed capabilities. It does not require any ink for its markings and it also does not require tools that come into contact with the metal, which can easily wear out in mechanical engraving.

Although engraving has come a long way, its roots are in meticulous, handmade craftsmanship. Take a look at these collections of antique nameplates that were crafted with care on the Yeuell blog.

Order Engraved Tags and Nameplates

Have you decided which material is right for your custom engraved tags? Request a quote today for your engraving needs. You can also request a free sample kit of brass engraved tags, rotary engraved tags, and more – to determine for yourself how Yeuell’s many printing processes and materials work together to create long-lasting, colorful and effective ID and marking signage for industrial and municipal needs.

Need engraved aluminum tags or engraved stainless steel tags? Return to our custom Nameplate & Label Materials page.

Antique Nameplates: Restoration & Recreation of Vintage Nameplates

August 12, 2014

When restoring antiques, even the smallest details matter. Finding the perfect antique nameplate may be a small detail but it is carries the old-world charm that makes vintage ideas so special. Many people love antiques for their historical significance. Nameplates are resourceful in telling where and when a product hails from. Although, sometimes people look to nameplates to recreate a vintage appeal for a modern product. Either way, they are a token of history and originality.


Below are some examples of antique nameplates, some of which have been restored and others which have been recreated.

1. Bankshot Antiques: Pool Table Nameplates

Bankshot Antiques is dedicated to restoring antiques with care and accuracy. Recreating a custom nameplate that tells a story is part of this mission. They write,” We go to great trouble and expense to provide each table with its correct nameplate…which help[s] preserve the authenticity as well as the charm and uniqueness of the tables they belong on”.

2. Vintage Camper: Camper Nameplates

Vintage Campers works hard to recreate the feeling of cross country traveling from years past. Some of the name plates are truly vintage pieces, others are recreations of old camper decals. Either way they’re bound to add uniqueness to your travels.

3. Industrial Caffeine: Safe Nameplates

“Incombustible Systeme Bauche Brevete S.G.D.G Usine A Gueux” is the original text on the nameplate of this antique French safe. Restored by the antique enthusiasts at Industrial Caffeine, this safe heralds from the town of Avignon, France and dates around 1870.

4. Mireio Design: Bicycle Nameplates

These bicycle nameplates are not only charming—they are for sale. An authentic collection of antique nameplates curated by Mireio Design, these trinkets can serve different uses. For example, you can add one to your bicycle or use it to complete a collection of antique nameplates.

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