Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

Tracing the Origins of the White Cane: Richard Edwin Hoover

Richard Hoover, referred to as the “’Father of the Lightweight Long Cane Technique,’” developed a successful technique using a long cane during his service as an army sergeant during World War II. Assigned to Valley Forge Army Hospital’s center for the treatment of blinded soldiers, Hoover introduced a cane cut to a prescribed length that replaced the short wooden cane. The technique for using this cane involved “arcing the cane from side to side with the tip touching the ground in front of the trailing foot.” He taught these techniques to staff at the hospital who then brought his methodology to the blind soldiers. Subsequently, the program was adopted by many schools and agencies for people who are blind or visually impaired. Beginning in 1960, university training programs were established and later certification standards and a code of ethics for orientation and mobility specialists teaching white cane techniques. In 2002, Richard Edwin Hoover was inducted into the APH (American Printing House for the Blind) Hall of Fame: Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field. Read more about the life and achievements of Richard Edwin Hoover.