The Minuscule project was born a few months before my arrival at the National Institute for Typographic Research, when I discovered the works of a 19th century ophthalmologist, Dr Émile Javal. One century ago, Javal has developed an amazing «theory of compact printings».
Émile Javal is a very surprising man, with a rich and varied work. After graduating as an engineer, he decided to study medicine and ophthalmology. He was a member of the Academy of Medicine and director of the ophthalmology laboratory at the Sorbonne University ; his works on astigmatism and strabismus gave him an international renown. He invented, among other things, the ophthalmometre, for which he introduced the modern notation for lenses correction, and the orthoptic treatments for strabismus. He also created a learning method for reading and writing (the Javal Method), was deputy of Yonne, and a promoter of esperanto. By a cruel irony of fate, Javal, struck by a double glaucoma, suffered blindness at the end of his life. But he did not give up his researchs, and he invented, for example, a writing tablet for the blind.